Junked plane at Naia finds home in Aussie museum
MANILA, Philippines—An iconic Lockheed Super Constellation airplane that had been abandoned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) has found a new home in an Australian museum.
In a press release, the Qantas Founders Museum said its purchase of the plane should lead to increased visits to the museum and Australia’s Outback Queensland region.
“To ensure the sustainability of the museum, it is important Qantas Founders Museum continues to expand and change its displays to create continued interest and attract new visitors,” Tony Martin, chief executive officer of the museum, said in a statement.
Qantas Founders Museum is located in Longreach, Queensland, Australia. It tracks the rise of Australia’s flag carrier, Qantas Airways Ltd., from its start in Western Queensland in 1920 through exhibits, interactive displays, artifacts and aircraft, including a Boeing 747, Boeing 707 and DC3.
The museum bought the Super Constellation at an auction conducted by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) on Sept. 18. The agency wanted to dispose of airplanes that had been junked and were occupying needed space in the Naia’s general aviation area.
Eleven other planes were put up for auction but only four found buyers.
The Super Constellation was bought by the Qantas museum for P1 million.
The Super Constellations were built by the Lockheed Corp. of Burbank, California, between 1951 and 1958. A total of 579 were built, both for military and commercial uses.
The plane in Manila had been sitting on the ground for 25 years after having been previously used by World Fish and Agriculture Inc. to transport fish, the Qantas museum said.
Due to its condition, the Super Constellation will not be restored to airworthiness but will form part of its display of iconic aircraft.
“The museum has identified a number of iconic Qantas aircraft it should have in its collection so we are delighted to finally have the Super Constellation as part of our museum,” Martin said.
He said the Constellation was an important part of the history of Qantas and Australian aviation.
“It was the first aircraft that enabled Qantas to establish long-range overseas service. It was also the first Qantas aircraft to feature flight hostesses and the first pressurized aircraft operated by the airline,” Martin added.
The Constellation will be transported to Australia by ship and to Longreach overland.
The MIAA and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines decided to sell off the planes that had been abandoned by their owners in a section of the Naia property and were taking up valuable space. Before holding the auction, the MIAA tried to contact the owners.