End of an Era: Boeing's Last 747 Rolls Out of Factory

Tuesday night marked the end of the production of the iconic jumbo jet
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 8, 2022 12:20 AM CST
Boeing's Last 747 Rolls Out of Factory
The final Boeing 747 aircraft pauses on the apron after rolling out of the hangar for the first time at the Everett factory, Tuesday night, Dec. 6, 2022, in Everett, Wash.   (Jennifer Buchanan/The Seattle Times via AP)

After more than half a century, the last Boeing 747 rolled out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday, the AP reports. The 747 jumbo jet has taken on numerous roles—a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, and the Air Force One presidential aircraft—since it debuted in 1969. It was the largest commercial aircraft in the world and the first with two aisles, and it still towers over most other planes. The plane's design included a second deck extending from the cockpit back over the first third of the plane, giving it a distinctive hump that made the plane instantly recognizable and inspired a nickname, the Whale. More elegantly, the 747 became known as the Queen of the Skies. It took more than 50,000 Boeing employees less than 16 months to churn out the first 747. The company has completed 1,573 more since then.

But over the past 15 years or so, Boeing and its European rival Airbus released new widebody planes with two engines instead of the 747’s four. They were more fuel-efficient and profitable. Delta was the last US airline to use the 747 for passenger flights, which ended in 2017, although some other international carriers continue to fly it, including the German airline Lufthansa. The final customer is the cargo carrier Atlas Air, which ordered four 747-8 freighters early this year. The last one rolled out of Boeing’s massive factory in Everett, Washington, on Tuesday night. Boeing’s roots are in the Seattle area, and it has assembly plants in Washington state and South Carolina. The company announced in May that it would move its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia, putting its executives closer to key federal government officials and the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, DC.

(More Boeing stories.)

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