After 53 years and more than 1,570 aircraft, the last Boeing 747 rolled off the assembly line in Washington state on Tuesday night, on its way to serve as a freighter.
The once-pioneering giant plane, with its distinctive bulge on the second floor, is perhaps the most iconic and popular plane Boeing has ever built. It was even large enough to be used to transport the space shuttle from the landing strips in California to the launch site in Florida. A new type of file is due to be launched The spacecraft is by Virgin Orbit As soon as next week, having carried him aloft under her wing.
The 747 was once the choice of the glamorous rich and even royalty. Several movies, including the 1973 James Bond classic “Live and Let Die,” have featured on board, or sets made to look like the first-class lounge on the upper deck. The 747 continues to operate as Air Force One, as it has since 1990. Two aircraft that have already been assembled are in operation and are currently being converted into the next generation of Air Force One. Those planes will not be delivered for at least four years because of delay.
Other than that use, the 747’s days as a passenger airliner are almost entirely behind them. Airlines are moving away from fuel-guzzling four-engine planes like the 747. Airbus’s Rival
(EADSF) A jumbo biplane was shot downthe A380, in 2019.
Boeing indicated in 2020 that it would stop building the 747, even in the form of its freighters, as customers either bought the more fuel-efficient 777 freighter or saved money by refurbishing previous 747 passenger planes for freight. It has not yet announced plans for the plant in Everett, Washington, It has 747 built, but it expects to keep it open. In order to build the massive plane, the facility would have 200 million cubic feet of space, which Boeing says makes it the largest building in the world by volume.
Passenger versions of the aircraft can carry 400 to 500 passengers, with a maximum capacity of twice as many passengers as one of Boeing’s current wide-body aircraft, the 787-8 Dreamliner. But Boeing hasn’t made a passenger version of the 747 since it last delivered one to Korean Air in 2017. This last 747 will go to Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings.
(AAWW)which will operate the aircraft for the Swiss logistics company Kuehne + Nagel. The final aircraft will be moved on Tuesday to another shop at Boeing’s facility for paint and other final details, before it is delivered to Atlas early next year.
Today, only 44 passenger versions of the 747 remain in service, according to flight analytics firm Cirium. More than half of those – 25 – travel by air Lufthansa.
That total is down from more than 130 in service as passenger aircraft at the end of 2019, before the pandemic crippled demand for air travel, especially on international routes on which the 747 and other wide-body aircraft were primarily used. Most passenger versions of the planes were grounded during the early months of the pandemic and never returned to service.
But there are still 314,747 freighters in use, according to Cirium, many of which were initially used as passenger planes before being refurbished and converted into freighters.
UPS said in 2020, when Boeing indicated it would Soon it stops building jet plane. “With a maximum payload of 307,000 pounds, we use them on long, high-volume routes connecting Asia, North America, Europe, and the Middle East.”
At 250 feet, 2 inches, the current version of the 747 is the longest commercial airliner in service now, or about twice the length of the Wright Brothers’ first flight. It has a wingspan of 224 feet 5 inches.
Boeing delivered its first 747 in December 1969 to two airlines that no longer existed – TWA and Pan Am. Delta Airlines
(DAL) It was the last US airline to fly a passenger version of the plane, also in 2017. This past year was the last US 747 passenger flight – by both Delta and United
(UAL) It attracted large crowds of plane enthusiasts, a testament to its enduring popularity.
CNN’s Jackie Wattles contributed to this report
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the wrong Virgin had used the 747 to launch missiles into outer space.
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”