Qantas and Boeing celebrate 250 aircraft

Seattle | Published on 6th June 2013 at 10:10

Qantas today celebrated its 100th Boeing 737 – and 250th Boeing aircraft overall – since the partnership between the two companies began in the 1950s.

Qantas’ first Boeing aircraft, a 707, was delivered in 1959 at the outset of the passenger jet age. At the time Qantas was the first airline outside of the United States to operate the 707.

The airline’s 250th Boeing, delivered last month, was a Next-Generation 737-800 for the Qantas Domestic fleet.

The occasion was marked by Qantas and Boeing employees at a special ceremony in Seattle today, ahead of the handover of another new 737-800.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said it was a special moment for both companies.

“Over the decades Qantas’ partnership with Boeing has been absolutely fundamental to our success as an airline,” Mr Joyce said. “Together we’ve been responsible for some special moments in aviation history, from the invention of business class to important achievements in air navigation.

“Boeing aircraft help us deliver outstanding service for our customers and they strengthen the Qantas Group as a business. As we reach this significant milestone, I’d like to thank Boeing for their support of Qantas – and I look forward to a continued strong partnership in the years to come.”

Significant milestones in the Boeing relationship include:

– In 1959, Qantas became the first airline to carry passengers by jet across the Pacific, using the Boeing 707 – an aircraft type still flown today by Qantas ambassador John Travolta.

– In 1965, the Qantas 707-338 became the first aircraft to complete a non-stop trans-Pacific flight.

–  A Qantas 747 uplifted a record 674 passengers during the evacuation of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy in 1974.

– In 1979, Qantas introduced the world’s first business class cabin, on the 747.

– In 1981, Qantas became the only airline to operate a fleet consisting entirely of 747s.

– In 1989, Qantas and Boeing broke the world record for the world’s longest flight using a commercial jet, operating a 747 non-stop from London to Sydney.

– Six extended range 747-400s were delivered to Qantas between 2002 and 2003, customised for the airline’s ultra-long haul operations across the pacific. Qantas is the only airline to operate this aircraft type.

– In September 2013, Jetstar will receive its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, becoming the first low cost carrier in the Asia Pacific to fly the Dreamliner.

Click here to view historic images of the Qantas-Boeing partnership.

Click here to view an illustrated timeline of the partnership.

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