Goodbye Boeing 747: the last one has now been built

In sad aviation news, the latest, and final, Boeing 747 has rolled off the production line.
Christopher McFadden
The last Boeing 747
The last Boeing 747

Boeing 

Since 1967, the Boeing 747 has been the icon of commercial flight for over 50 years. But today, the very last of the line has rolled off the production line, marking an end to an illustrious career for the aircraft.

Before being delivered to Atlas Air in early 2023, the final Boeing 747 departed the company's widebody facility, Boeing reported in a press release.

"For more than half a century, tens of thousands of dedicated Boeing employees have designed and built this magnificent airplane that has truly changed the world. We are proud that this plane will continue to fly across the globe for years to come," said Kim Smith, Boeing Vice President and general manager of 747 and 767 Programs.

The last 747, wrapped in a green protective coating, had been parked inside Boeing's enormous assembly facility in Everett, which the corporation claims to be the largest structure in the world in terms of volume.

This is fitting, as the structure was built especially for the start of "jumbo jet" production in 1967.

Before the last 747 leaves, Boeing personnel have spent the last few days swinging the landing gears, perfecting cargo handling systems, and finalizing the interiors. Customers who purchased the 747 line portion of one of the doors had tails with their logos.

Since the new 747s could continue to fly for decades, the end of 747 manufacture does not mean the aircraft would completely vanish from the skies. They are now uncommon in business fleets, nevertheless. Before the Covid epidemic, United and Delta bid goodbye to theirs, while Qantas and British Airways put their 747s to rest in 2020 during a global traffic slowdown.

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“It was a great plane. It served us brilliantly,” British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said on the sidelines of an event at John F. Kennedy International Airport with partner American Airlines last week. “There’s a lot of nostalgia and love for it, but when we look to the future, it’s about modern aircraft, more efficiency, more sustainable solutions as well.”

The Boeing 747 has been a critical product for Boeing

The 747, the first twin-aisle aircraft ever built, went into production in 1967 and produced 1,574 aircraft over 54 years.

In the years following its first commercial flight in January 1970, the hump-backed 747 became recognized as one of the most recognized jetliners and helped make international travel more affordable. For their day, its four strong engines were effective. The aircraft could accommodate hundreds of passengers at a time for long-distance trips.

Goodbye Boeing 747: the last one has now been built
Image of the last Boeing 747.

The huge planes also made it simpler to transport air goods around the globe, enabling businesses to meet the increasingly demanding consumer desires for anything from cheese to gadgets.

The latest and final iteration, the 747-8, is the longest commercial aircraft currently in service, measuring just over 250 ft (76.2 m). The 747-8 covers approximately three NFL football fields or FIFA soccer fields in length every second while cruising.

This final 747-8 will serve as a freighter and is the last aircraft of the 747 series forever. The plane can transport 10,699 solid gold bars or around 19 million ping-pong or golf balls thanks to its payload capacity of 133.1 tonnes.

For clients in more than 150 countries, Boeing, a leading global aerospace corporation, develops, produces, and services commercial aircraft, defense goods, and space systems. The corporation, a leading exporter from the United States, uses the skills of an extensive global supplier network to enhance economic opportunity, sustainability, and community impact, says Boeing.

"Boeing's diverse team is committed to innovating for the future, leading with sustainability, and cultivating a culture based on the company's core values of safety, quality and integrity.," they add.