Qantas Airways Lockheed 188C Electra.


Background Information.


Ordered on April 01, 1958 Qantas operated four Lockheed L-188C Electra Prop-Jets from late 1959 until mid 1970 for services across the trans-Tasman to New Zealand, Noumea as well as on routes to Asia and South Africa. The first two aircraft VH-ECA and VH-ECB were handed over to Qantas at the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation Burbank, California factory on October 30, 1959.

The first aircraft to be delivered was VH-ECB 'Pacific Explorer' which arrived at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport from Burbank, California on November 07, 1959 under the command of Captain Jack Bird. It was followed by VH-ECA 'Pacific Electra' on November 08, 1959 under the command of Captain K. Nicholson.

VH-ECA operated its first revenue service as EM 244 on December 21, 1959 on the Sydney to Tokyo route whilst VH-ECB operated the inaugural Qantas Electra service on December 18, 1959 on the Sydney to Hong Kong route via Port Moresby, Biak and Manila as EM262.

Qantas withdrew from its own Lockheed L-188C services on March 29, 1970 when VH-ECD 'Pacific Enterprise' operated QF322 from Sydney - Wellington, returning the same day Wellington - Sydney as QF327. On April 30, 1970 VH-ECD was leased to Air New Zealand as ZK-TED in Air New Zealand colours with additional 'Qanta's titles for joint services across the Tasman flown by Air New Zealand crews, until it was withdrawn from service on August 30, 1970, after operating Brisbane - Wellington. This ended Qantas' association with the Lockheed L-188C Electra.