The Jumbo Jet

The 747

In 1966 Qantas decided to standardise its fleet with the larger 338C series Boeing 707. In December the airline opened its luxury 450 room Wentworth Hotel in Sydney adjacent to the company's headquarters in Elizabeth Street.

In the late 1960s Qantas was evaluating an even bigger aircraft, the Boeing 747, soon to be known as the Jumbo Jet. Rather than accept the first 747 model, Qantas decided to retain its 21 707s and wait for the more advanced B series. An initial order for four Boeing 747Bs was placed in August 1967. Although this meant other airlines would operate the wide-bodied jet for nearly two years before Qantas took delivery, the B series had features suited to long-haul operations. It was a new era in air travel and the airline changed its name on 1 August 1967 to Qantas Airways Limited.

The first Boeing 747-238B aircraft went into service in September 1971. Qantas introduced a range of low fares offering travellers charter level prices with the benefits of scheduled services. As the fares represented huge savings, passenger traffic and revenue grew phenomenally despite sharp increases in fuel prices.

In 1974 Qantas established a then world record for carrying the most passengers when it evacuated 673 people on a 747 flight from Darwin after the city was devastated by Cyclone Tracy. The airline flew out a total of 4925 people.