The introduction of this aircraft type enabled Qantas to become the first airline offering a round-the-world jet service with the B707, reducing the flying time to 70 hours compared with the 127 hours taken by the Super Constellation aircraft it replaced. Today a Qantas flight from Sydney to London stops only once, in Dubai, and takes 21 flying hours.
Welcoming the freshly-painted jet into a hangar with more than 300 employees, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce described the vintage livery as a flying tribute to the airline’s history of innovation and paid tribute to all the staff who had worked for the airline over the past 95 years with commitment and passion. He said “Tens of thousands of people have dedicated their whole careers to the national carrier and many who work here today are the third or fourth generation in their family to do so.”.
He noted that Qantas was the first airline to introduce business class and has operated record breaking endurance flights throughout their history as well as helping pioneer many breakthroughs in aviation technology. “Innovation is still at the core of Qantas and we’re now looking to a new generation of aircraft with the arrival of Qantas’ first B787 Dreamliners in 2017. Like the 707 in 1959, these aircraft are at the cutting edge of aviation and we’re really excited about the opportunities they’ll open up for our customers.”
Earlier this year, Qantas donated its record-breaking B747-400 (VH-OJA) to an aviation museum staffed largely by former Qantas employees. The aircraft was significant for operating the world’s longest non-stop flight from London to Sydney in 1989, and is now a big tourism draw for the Illawarra region.