When Swedish pop group ABBA landed in Australia for their 1977 tour, they needed transport from city to city. They chartered an Ansett Airlines Boeing 727 for the job. There are only four members in the group, so why did they need an entire aircraft?
Apart from the musicians and other crew accompanying the group, there was also a feature film being made about the tour. That would eventually become ABBA – The Movie, so the extra capacity was required.
How Big Were ABBA in Australia?
In 1976, Australia had a population of 14 million people, and the entire country took ABBA into their collective hearts. During the two years prior to the tour, the group had three number one albums and six number one singles.
While that might sound ho hum to some, one album sold over one million copies, another over 900,000 copies and another over 800,000 copies. It was estimated that every second household had an ABBA record at the time. They were huge, and still are.
Ansett Australia’s ABBA Boeing 727
Since the press followed ABBA’s movements very closely, Ansett Australia were probably quite pleased to land the charter. They even added an ABBA logo to the plane, on the boarding side, to feature in photos.
That proved to be quite successful, as anytime they landed in a new city, photos would be taken of the group arriving. Both the Ansett name and the ABBA logo made it in plenty of shots.
The aircraft itself was VH-RMS, a Boeing 727-77QC, which was delivered to the Australian airline on 2 November 1969. During the day, it had a 98 seat passenger configuration and during the night it flew freight. QC stands for Quick Change, meaning the seats could be removed fast.
Its final service was on 29 January 1980, which was also the last Boeing 727-77 service at Ansett. Today the aircraft still flies, with Aviation Australia as VH-TBS. Not bad for a 52 year old plane!
It’s always interesting to see unusual things like this in the world of aviation. Of course, ABBA’s 1977 tour was a long time ago and the 727 would only have worn the ABBA logo for a couple of weeks, so it’s a footnote in music history at best.
Even so, it’s remarkable that the plane still exists and is still airworthy. Perhaps one day it will land in a museum somewhere and it’s interesting past can be celebrated.
Did you ever see ABBA live in concert? Know of any other bands that had their names on commercial airliners? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.