B787-9 QF Photo:David Gray /Getty Images for Qantas

LONDON – It’s been a busy few weeks for the Australian flag carrier Qantas as it reveals its centenary livery as well as phasing out its last non-extended range Boeing 747-400 and also bringing Project Sunrise to a conclusion.

Centenary = New Livery

October 14 saw Qantas roll out a brand new special livery on its soon to be delivered Boeing 787-9 VH-ZNJ, CN66074 to mark the airline’s century next year, as Qantas will be 100 years old.

Qantas will turn 100 in November 2020. The livery features all of Qantas’s logos from 1920, right through to the present day, the livery represents the evolution of Qantas over the years. 

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the aircraft livery is a reminder of the airline’s past on its newest piece of technology.

“The story of Qantas is the story of modern Australia, and the logos on this livery tell that story from the beginning,” Mr Joyce said.

“Our Centenary celebrations are all about honouring our past with an eye on the future, so it’s very fitting that this special livery will be worn by our newest state-of-the-art Dreamliner.”

Farewell OJU…

Qantas also recently retired its last non-extended range Boeing 747-400 VH-OJU CN25566. Now just 6 Boeing 747-400ERs remain, as Qantas plans to retire their last 747s, at the end of next year.

Qantas will replace them with Boeing 787-9s and plan to have all 14 on order by next year. The remaining deliveries will be like for like replacements for each 747.

This isn’t the end of the line for VH-OJU CN25566, as it has been acquired by rolls Royce, as their new engine testbed aircraft, to replace their Boeing 747-200 testbed.

VH-OJU is only 19 years old and was delivered to Qantas in January 2000, which makes it the ideal replacement for the old testbed aircraft.

Since being delivered, VH-OJU has flown more than 70 million kilometres, with over 2.5 million passengers. The new testbed is part of a $70 million investment by Rolls Royce to improve their testing facilities for the next generation.

The aircraft will undergo conversation at Moses lake and it will be carried out by AeroTech. The last commercial flight for the aircraft was from Sydney to Los Angeles on October 13, 2019, with it being ferried up to Moses lake a few days later.

Gareth Hedicker, Rolls-Royce, Director of Development and Experimental Engineering, commented on this next step for the aircraft.

“The Queen of the skies will become the jewel in the crown of our global test programmes.”

“This is a significant investment that will expand our world-leading test capabilities even further and will allow us to obtain more flight test data than ever before. After transporting millions of passengers on this beloved aircraft for 20 years, we’re excited to power it into the future.”

Chris Snook, Executive Manager of Engineering for Qantas, said: “The Boeing 747 has been an integral and much-loved member of the Qantas fleet for many years.”

“We’ve operated almost every variant and while it is sad to see them go, the 747s are making way for Boeing 787 Dreamliners. OJU has proudly worn the flying kangaroo for more than 20 years and we’re delighted that she has a long life ahead of her to help test and support the development of the next generation of aircraft engines.”

The Future is Here…

In other news, Qantas has started testing, as part of project sunrise. On October 18, its newest Boeing 787-9 VH-ZNI CN66073 flew direct from New York JFK to Sydney, with 50 passengers and crew, all are Qantas employees.

The flight lasted for 20hours and each passenger will be with sensors and devices, to find out their food intake, sleep, hydration, their well being and so on.

Qantas is currently in the process of deciding between the Boeing 777X program and Airbus’s A350 program, to start direct flights from Sydney to London and Sydney to New York from 2022.

Qantas also hopes to eventually start these flights from Melbourne as well. A decision on the aircraft type is expected to be made, by the end of 2019.

David Gray /Getty Images for Qantas

Overall, it has been a considerably busy few weeks for Qantas. With Project Sunrise, coming to a close, we will then soon which aircraft will power the ultra-long-haul routes.

Furthermore, we see the end of an era with the Boeing 747, but we see the future with the usage of the 787 Dreamliner.

The next 100 years for Qantas will no doubt prove to be prosperous, especially with the ambitious and innovative ideas it has in effect.