Qantas has begun the process of retiring its five remaining B747-400 jumbo aircraft, as the carrier prepares to take delivery of its fleet of new B787s.

The airline said that parts have started to arrive in Seattle for its first Dreamliner aircraft, with delivery set to be ready “in a couple of months”.

Qantas has eight B787-9s on order, and “to make room” the carrier is retiring five of its B747-400 jumbos, starting with VH-OJM this week.

The aircraft (pictured above) was delivered to Qantas in 1991, and carried more than four million people, and racked up enough miles to fly to the moon and back 120 times.

The retirement of the five B747-400s over the next couple of years will leave Qantas with just six B747-400ER aircraft in service.

It will also leave only the carrier’s 12 A380 aircraft with first class seating – the B747-400ERs are configured in a three-class economy, premium economy and business class layout, as are the forthcoming B787 Dreamliners.

Officially the old-style first class seating on Qantas’s B747-400s is no longer sold as such, and is mainly used to upgrade top tier frequent flyer members booked in business class.

Qantas will launch a new nonstop service between London and Perth using its B787-9 aircraft from March next year.