Qantas’ Boeing 767-338ER, a common sight in Australian skies over the past 30 years – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The 27th of December marked the end of an era in Australian aviation. Qantas retired the Boeing 767 fleet from passenger service.
Let’s take a brief look at the history of this true workhorse and Australian icon that has been part of the Qantas fleet for almost 30 years. Qantas took delivery of its first 767, a -200 series extended range aircraft, in 1985. The type was first introduced on the carrier’s services to southeast Asia as well as on trans-Tasman and Pacific routes.
In 1987, the carrier placed an order for the larger -300ER series. The -300ER not only had a larger capacity but also an increased range and more powerful General Electric CF6-80 engines. The 767-300ER was delivered to Qantas in a two-class configuration. There were two variants of this configuration, one for international service which had 25 business class and 204 economy class seats, and the domestic configuration, which had 30 business class seats and 224 economy class seats.
A unique configuration, 1-2-2 on the international version of the Qantas Boeing 767-338ER – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The internationally-configured 767s were unique in that business class was configured in a 1-2-2 layout, and the 767s were the first Australian aircraft to offer in-seat IFE in business class. The economy cabin was also unique in that there was a “pod” at the front of the cabin for crew rest, as well as two rows of seats at the rear portioned off for additional crew rest.
Following the deregulation of the Australian domestic market in 1990, Qantas was permitted to once again operate domestic flight routes. With the introduction of the 767 into the fleet, and the domestic deregulation which allowed for increased passenger demand, Qantas used the 767 on domestic Australian flights. The domestic market is where the aircraft really became a true Australian icon. It was deployed on pretty much every major domestic route within the country; the most popular routes were the transcontinentals to Perth, as well as the main east coast triangle routes connecting Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
Current and retired Delta employees line up in their native uniform
A crowd gathered before a beautifully restored 767 inside a climate-controlled hangar on the outskirts of Delta’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Attendees included executives, local and regional politicians, select employees, media and various VIPs. There was a marked excitement in the air. The facility had been closed to the public and shrouded in secrecy for six months, so all were excited to explore the newly renovated Delta Flight Museum.
The unveiling of the museum, which had been personally overseen by Delta CEO Richard Anderson, was timed to coincide with Delta’s 85th anniversary of passenger operations. After opening remarks by Anderson, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed,attendees were treated to a short video illustrating Delta’s history. Following the movie and a short awards ceremony attendees were invited to enjoy the festivities and have a look around the multi-room, multi-level facility.
The museum occupies the same footprint as Delta’s original maintenance hangars which were established in the 1940s.
Delta Flight Museum Exterior
Visitors are assured they have indeed arrived at the right place when driving by a 757-200 restored in the “Classic Widget” livery. For extra assurance a DC-9-50 in the modern “2007 Widget” livery that sits just across the way.
The exterior of the facility is undeniably Delta: Bright euro-white with large block letter titling: Delta Air Lines… (Air Lines; two words — they’re sensitive about that). Delta widgets adorn the pavement, the building and are strategically incorporated within the museum’s design inside and out, allowing for a sort of AvGeek easter egg hunt for those looking for a challenge.
Recently, American Airlines said goodbye to their last Boeing 767-200 (kind of). What better way to say farewell than with a video by SpeedbirdHD?
Well, technically, American still has a few, since US Airways is operating eight Boeing 767-200ERs right now. However, it is highly unlikely we will see them in the new livery, as they are to be all retired in 2015.
The last of the 767-200s were replaced by the Airbus A321T used for premium transcon flights, which is a pretty nice upgrade.
No matter, the video is a nice tribute to the aircraft, which served American well.