Boeing to Deliver Last 747

SEATTLE (Reuters) —
Boeing raises a curtain to unveil the 747-8 jumbo passenger jet to thousands of employees and guests at the company’s Everett, Washington commercial airplane manufacturing facility, in 2011. (REUTERS/Anthony Bolante/File Photo)

Boeing will bid farewell to the iconic 747 when it delivers the final plane to Atlas Air on Tuesday afternoon, marking an end of an era when the first-ever “jumbo jet” ruled the skies.

Thousands of Boeing employees – including some of the so-called “Incredibles” who developed the jet in the 1960s – are expected to watch the last delivery of the historic plane.

“It’s a very emotional experience, I know, for so many of the current team and so many that have lineage in the program over the many decades,” said Kim Smith, Boeing’s vice president and general manager for the 747 and 767 programs.

Known as the “Queen of the Skies,” the 747 was the world’s first twin-aisle jetliner, which Boeing designed and built in 28 months and Pan Am introduced in 1970.

“It’s the airplane that redefined the industry and redefined air travel,” said Guy Norris, co-author of “Boeing 747: Design and Development Since 1969.”

But after five decades, customer demand for the 747 eroded as Boeing and Airbus developed more fuel-efficient two-engine widebody planes.

Boeing declined to detail how many employees worked on the 747 in its final year, but Smith said all were transferred to other jobs or voluntarily retired.

The last 747 rolled out on Dec. 7, capping the program at 1,574 total in its history.

The heir apparent to the 747, the 777X, will not be ready for delivery until 2025.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!