Interestingly Qantas actually received its thirteen 707-138s in three separate batches. The first seven (VH-EBA-G) were all turbojet 707-138s and arrived between July 16, 1959 and September 8, 1959. There was then a gap with the first built as a turbofan model (VH-EBH) not being delivered until July 29, 1961. She was followed by VH-EBI-K up to August 14, 1961. For some reason the last pair did not arrive until much later with VH-EBL and EBM being delivered between August 6 and September 10, 1964.
Braniff bought the two newest aircraft which were only five years old when purchased in June 1969. They also took VH-EBI and EBJ. I assume they would have taken the in-between aircraft, VH-EBK, however by then she had already been sold (after a lease) to BWIA. The aircraft were reregistered from N105-N108BN. The four 707-138Bs joined a fleet which already included four 707-227s and five 720-027s. They actually replaced a trio of 720-048s which Braniff had been leasing from Aer Lingus for six months. The 707-138Bs had almost the same dimensions as the 720s and could be seen operating on the mainland domestic network, to Hawaii, Mexico or on charter operations.
In the early 1970s Braniff began to simplify its fleet around the 727 and as with many airlines the effect of the 1973 oil crisis on fuel prices only sped up this process. Aircraft like early 707s, DC-8s and CV-880s suddenly became a liability. Braniff sold its 707-227s in 1971 its 720 fleet in 1973/74 and finally its 707-138Bs in 1975. The 707-138Bs however had all been withdrawn in 1973 and just weren't traded in to Boeing until 1975.
During their Braniff years all four of the 138Bs wore different jellybean colours. N105BN started in red and transitioned to Panagra Green, N106BN wore Orange, N107BN wore Light Green and then Red whilst N108BN got Dark Blue. All four also got repainted into the Flying Colors livery and again all four wore separate variants.
N108BN passed into private ownership upon her sale. After three previous owners it is now owned by John Travolta and registered N707JT, decked out in Qantas colours.
N105BN was retired in 1973 and she was traded into Boeing in 1974. Sold to Montana Flugdienst of Austria in September 1976 she became OE-IRA. She served leases with Aer Lingus, Alitalia and Central Airways of Nigeria and was withdrawn in July 1981. Sold to Air Lease Egypt she became SU-FAB and operated for Egyptair and Misr Overseas. As N245AC she was sold to Boeing in 1986 and parted out for the KC-135E refurbishment programme.
For the full history of all the 707-138s see the excellent AussieAirliners
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: