Monday, February 24, 2014

The End of an Era as Qantas Airways Retires Final 'Classic' Boeing B737

A special post from CQ Plane Spotting as Qantas Airways operated its last 'classic' Boeing B737 passenger service on Sunday 23 February, with B737-400 aircraft VH-TJS and VH-TJX operating their final flights into Melbourne before retirement.

VH-TJX departs Brisbane Airport in 2006

VH-TJX 'Stawell' operated as QF815 from Canberra to Melbourne, while VH-TJS 'Jabiru' operated as QF819 from Canberra to Melbourne, marking the final flight for the 'classic' B737s of Qantas Airways / Australian Airlines.

VH-TJS at Brisbane Airport in 2006

The CFM56-powered B737 classic was introduced into Australia with Australian Airlines, which took delivery of the smaller B737-300 - VH-TAG - in August 1986.  Later that month Ansett too took delivery of its first B737-300 - VH-CZA. The first Australian Airlines B737-400 - VH-TJE - was delivered in December 1988.

Both the B737-300 and B737-400 became a mainstay of the Qantas domestic fleet following the Qantas-Australian Airlines merger in 1992-93. VH-TJS was in fact the last 737-400 to be delivered in Australian Airlines colours.  During the 1990s and early 2000s, Qantas B737-300s and B737-400s were a daily sight in Central Queensland, operating daily flights into Rockhampton, Mackay, Proserpine and Hamilton Island Airports.

VH-TJQ departs Rockhampton Airport in 2004

While Qantas now operates more than 60 'Next Generation' B737-800s, the 'classic' B737 continues to ply its trade in Australia for Qantas as a freighter, with four B737-300Fs remaining in service with Qantas Freight.  In addition, Nauru’s Our Airline has three B737-300s registered in Australia.  There are also B737-300 and B737-400 passenger and freight aircraft which also common sights at Australian airports, and occasionally Central Queensland Airports.

As shown below, the retired Qantas B737-400s have ended up stored at Victorville in the United States of America (USA).

Certainly a sad day.

Additional information sourced from Australian Aviation.

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