A beautiful Qantas Boeing 747-400 – Photo: Owen Zupp
This is a guest post written by Owen Zupp, who has previously written a few great stories on AirlineReporter. Zupp’s background ranges from charter work and flight instruction to ferry flights, flight testing, and he has served as both a Chief Pilot and Chief Flying Instructor. With over 25 years in airline operations, Owen has flown both domestically and across the globe from his Australian base. He holds a Masters Degree in Aviation Management and his writings on aviation have been published around the world and received various accolades and awards. He is also just a cool guy! -Editor
When it comes to the QANTAS Boeing 747, as the Beatles famously sang, “I heard the news, today. Oh boy!” …. although not officially. There may be life in the old girl yet.
The news broadcasts were showing footage of the “Queen of the Skies” making a flypast of Sydney Harbour, proclaiming that it was the final commercial service for the 747 in QANTAS colors. Meanwhile, my website and phone were bombarded with a common theme, “Is it true?” To be honest, I believe that it is highly likely, although I am yet to see an official announcement.
Since the commencement of the Stand Down, I have doubted whether the QANTAS 747 would return into commercial operations when the pandemic has passed. It has been a fine servant to the airways and all that it has safely conveyed, however, its planned retirement was well underway, before Covid-19 ever took its vile grip on the world. Still, there is no official statement to say that the 747 has retired from commercial service with QANTAS. Even so, it seems an opportune time to reflect on ‘the Queen”, as she is set to be on the ground for the time being.
The coronavirus will have devastating consequences for the airline business that we all love. Since there are many great folks covering the impact, we have opted to keep publishing our typical fun and entertaining content to provide a bit of an escape, with some stories about COVID-19 mixed in. Our thoughts are with the many lives that will change forever.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The COVID-19 pandemic has progressed significantly since this story was published at the beginning of March and recommendations for travel have changed. Please consult more recent guidance from government authorities in informing your plans.
COVID-19: It’s here, it’s spreading, and it has people very worried. Public health authorities everywhere are hard at work containing this newest coronavirus strain, but the global ripple effects are already huge. And as with previous infectious disease outbreaks air travel is getting a lot of scrutiny as a potential means of disease spread across borders.
Feeling stressed? Here’s two adorable teddy bears on a flying hospital on an MD-11 – Photo: Orbis International
There’s no certainty about how far the disease will spread and how the aviation world will respond. But since some of you may have trips on the books or plans in the works, I wanted to take a brief moment to share some thoughts and resources. We discuss the basics of the virus, the level of risk if you fly during the epidemic, how to reduce your risk, whether you need to change your flight plans, and how coronavirus is impacting the aviation industry.
Before we dive into things, two big caveats:
- I’m a physician in my day job, but I’m NOT a trained public health professional or an infectious disease specialist. You should be paying closest attention to the updates and recommendations of trustworthy sources like the CDC and WHO.
- This story is evolving fast, so no guarantees that everything in here is up to date at the time you read this.
Read on for a quick take on the state of flying in the era of COVID-19, and what the epidemic may mean for you.