Qantas QF767 : The Final Flight of the Boeing 767
Well we've known the B767 days were numbered in the Qantas fleet for quite some time now, but since Alan Joyce fast-tracked his turnaround plan for the airline, the day came somewhat earlier than many had hoped. December 27, 2014 was the final day of Boeing 767 passenger operations for Qantas, and indeed it would be the final flight of a Boeing 767 with passengers in Australian domestic service period.
The Boeing 767-200 and Boeing 767-300 have been an integral part of the aviation scene in Australia since about 1983 (with Ansett) and for many it was the preferred method of travel between the east coast capitals for decades. The type has been in service with Qantas for 29 years and was it's first twin engine aircraft.
So it was with some sadness that I booked my seat on flight QF767 from Melbourne to Sydney to farewell what I think has been a very significant part of Australian airline history. Here is how I experienced the day....
I arrived at the airport at 2.10pm (according to the above photo anyway) and noticed the board with it's special comment. I was travelling alone but decided last minute to meet up with some people I had never met from various online groups I participate in. As a result of that I met up with a couple of other 'avgeek's' and took them up into the domestic business class lounge. It's a great spot for viewing and we managed to catch the arrival of VH-OGL, the Boeing 767 operating today's flight.
|VH-OGL touches down - the final arrival in Melbourne|
|Fellow QF767 passengers|
|Here she is ....|
|The Captain paused and crept slowly into the gate allowing for photos|
|Pulling into Gate 3|
At about 4.10pm most people headed down to the gate where VH-OGL was waiting:
This particular aircraft was one of 5 that were remaining in the fleet, all of which had been flying earlier in the day. VH-OGL is actually one of the older examples, a Boeing 767-338ER that was delivered new to Qantas in 1991. From 2002 to 2006 she operated for Qantas's low cost leisure offshoot 'Australian Airlines' - most likely spending a lot of time flying to Japan and Bali. In 2006 after Jetstar International replaced Australian Airlines she returned to service with Qantas - by this stage it would be used mostly on domestic services.
By the time of her retirement at 23 years old most days VH-OGL would be flying between Sydney and both Brisbane and Melbourne and also on flights to Cairns, Darwin and Perth. A long and distinguished career indeed. And now this would be her last flight for Qantas - most likely the aircraft will end up in storage, and after that who knows.
|Party atmosphere at the gate|
|Ground crew saying goodbye in their own way|
The announcement of the boarding of QF767 was made with a small speech mentioning how it was a historic day for Qantas. There was many cheers from the large crowd.... most of whom had booked this flight especially for the occasion of the final flight.
|The FINAL CALL|
|Welcome on Board|
|I was in 35K - an emergency exit|
The captain made a long speech talking about the aircraft and it's history with Qantas and briefly explaining the flight and expected flying time too. When his announcement finished the cabin erupted into cheering and applause. Shortly afterwards the final safety demo was performed and we pushed back from Gate 3. I do love the sound of those GE CF6 engines....
Out to the right was a number of ground crew taking happy snaps including one who was on a cherry picker:
|The final B767 safety demo|
|The water produced a nice rainbow effect|
Bubbles were available along with beer and wine free of charge. This flight also featured a hot dinner service in economy. We were carrying 5 flight attendants more than usual today (12 in total) to expedite the service and get everything done nice and quick!
|The last meal run|
|QF767 Dinner Service|
|A smooth ride during dinner|
|Orbits of Sydney|
|Just flying around the city|
And there was dozens of Qantas staff taking photos and observing the final arrival. It was an emotional experience as the new Qantas theme song 'Feels Like Home' was playing on the loud speakers and I think many people had a tear in their eye.
The disembarkation was a slow process with many more photos to take including some of the cockpit.
|Captain at the door|
Still looking great for a 1980s design really. It's a nice mix of digital and analogue isn't it?
After we got off I went for a few last drinks at the Qantas lounge with some of the other passengers. What an amazing experience I had... Qantas really did a great job of organising the day, it was just incredible. I will not forget it for the rest of my life!