Jumbo jet to be phased out: Boeing delivers the last 747

The 747 was once the largest passenger jet in the world.

Jumbo jet to be phased out: Boeing delivers the last 747

The 747 was once the largest passenger jet in the world. Meanwhile, however, the Boeing plane is more of a slow seller. Therefore, the US group stops production. The last jet of its kind is now leaving the factory.

It's over after more than 50 years: The last 747 jumbo jet has left the large Boeing plant in Everett near Seattle. This marks the end of the classic aircraft once celebrated as the "Queen of the Skies". The aircraft will first complete test flights and be repainted before it will be handed over to the customer Atlas Air Worldwide at the beginning of next year. Boeing announced in 2020 that it would end 747 production. This did not come as a surprise: the group had long considered scrapping the jumbo due to lack of demand.

What was once the largest passenger jet in the world completed its maiden flight in 1969, and around a year later the first example went into scheduled service with the then US airline Pan Am. With the latest variant 747-8, which has a longer upper deck, new wings and more economical engines and offers space for more than 600 passengers, Boeing was only able to score points with a few airlines.

Most long-haul airlines now use models that are not quite as large as the Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" and 777 and the Airbus A350. Boeing manager Kim Smith described the last delivery of the legendary jumbo to the US broadcaster CNBC in Everett as "very surreal". "For the first time in more than 50 years, we will not have any 747s in this factory."

Boeing produced a total of 1574 copies of the giant aircraft. Of course, the aircraft type will not disappear from the sky when production ends, but the 747 is also becoming increasingly rare there. The big US airlines United and Delta took the machines out of their fleets years ago. After the corona pandemic paralyzed international air traffic in 2020, so did Qantas and British Airways.

One of the most important 747 customers was Lufthansa. They received 19 of the only 47 examples of the latest passenger version, the 747-8, with which Boeing wanted to compete against the even larger Airbus A380 after the turn of the millennium. The US manufacturer handed over the last aircraft to Lufthansa in December 2015. The German airline also has a number of older Boeing 747-400s in its fleet. For Boeing, the jumbo is no longer of great importance. In the end it was practically only built as a cargo plane - apart from a special version as the US government jet Air Force One.

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