Qantas Chairman Margaret Jackson will today mark the airline`s 82nd birthday by donating a Boeing 747-238B aircraft to the Qantas Founders` Outback Museum in Longreach.
The aircraft, which has been operating Qantas services for the past 22 years, will become a permanent display at the Museum.
Ms Jackson said the aircraft - known as City of Bunbury, with the registration number VH-EBQ - was the first Qantas aircraft to be named after a Western Australian town. It was named in honour of the 150th anniversary of the State.
“Qantas took delivery of the aircraft on 10 December 1979 and it operated its first commercial service from San Francisco to Sydney via Honolulu soon afterwards, ” Ms Jackson said. “VH-EBQ was part of the Qantas 747 fleet that revolutionised air travel to and from Australia.
“VH-EBQ has carried 5.4 million passengers and flown approximately 82.54 million kilometres. That is equivalent to more than 2000 trips around the world, or 100 round trips to the moon, or 10 years of continuous flying,” she said.
The aircraft operated throughout the airline`s network to Europe, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Middle East, Asia, Japan, Pacific and New Zealand.
VH-EBQ will be positioned on concrete and secured on a specially manufactured stand to take the weight from the aircraft`s front and main landing gears.
In addition to the Boeing 747-238B, Qantas has also donated a replica AVRO 504K aircraft type and $1 million dollars to support the Museum.
On 16 November 1920, Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited was formed at Winton, Queensland. In 1921, Qantas headquarters were relocated to Longreach.
An 84-year-old outback pioneer named Alexander Kennedy became the first Qantas passenger on a scheduled flight. His flight, on 2 November 1922, was on the Longreach-Winton-McKinlay-Cloncurry section of the inaugural mail service from Charleville to Cloncurry.
In 1926 Arthur Baird, the first Qantas engineer began building aircraft under licence at Longreach. In 1927, Baird began training apprentices at Longreach.
Today, QantasLink operates daily Dash-8 services from Brisbane to Longreach.