Qantas Airways Boeing 747SP-38.


Background Information.


The order for two Boeing 747SP aircraft was placed by Qantas on January 16, 1980. It was followed by the second aircraft being ordered in June 1980. Although a long range aircraft Qantas initially ordered them for the short Sydney to Wellington route as a standard Boeing 747 was too heavy to operate there due to Wellington’s short runway.

The first aircraft to be delivered was VH-EAA 'City of Gold Coast-Tweed' which arrived in Sydney on January 23, 1981. It was followed on September 02, 1981 by VH-EAB 'City of Winton'. The first scheduled service was on February 06, 1981 which was operated by VH-EAA on flight QF55 Sydney - Wellington. However dueto bad weather it was diverted to Auckland. VH-EAB operated its first service on September 11, 1981 also as QF55 Sydney to Wellington.
By March 1981 the Boeing B747-38SPs were also operating across the Pacific from Brisbane, Sydney and Townsville to Honolulu and Los Angeles. The first non-stop flight from Sydney to Los Angeles was operated on April 07, 1984 by VH-EAA. These aircraft operated numerous regional Pacific, Asia and Tasman services with some venturing further a field to Europe and Africa on occasions.

In 1994 both aircraft were leased to Australia Asia Airlines (a Qantas subsidiary) to operate to the politically sensitive Taiwan. The first service was QF135 Sydney to Taipei flown by VH-EAA on March 29, 1994. Both aircraft were returned to main Qantas service by end June 1996.

Initially VH-EAB was withdrawn from service on November 24, 2001 after operating QF42 Singapore - Jakarta - Sydney. It was followed by VH-EAA on February 24, 2002 operating QF4 Honolulu - Sydney. Both aircraft were ferried to Marana in Arizona for long term storage and were scrapped in 2002.