Final Boeing 747 to be Delivered on Feb 1 to Atlas Air: All You Need to Know About the Jumbo Jet | Aviation News

Boeing, the US based aviation giant will deliver the final unit of the iconic jumbo jet – the Boeing 747, also called the ‘Queen of the Skies’ – to Atlas Air. The plane will be delivered in a special ceremony at its Everett manufacturing facility in Washington on February 1. Boeing 747, the original and arguably most aesthetic “Jumbo Jet”, revolutionized air travel and is also the longest surviving plane in the world with continuous production for last 53 years. The US aircraft maker had rolled out the first B747-100 plane on September 30, 1968, while the first 747 entered service on launch customer Pan Am Airlines’ New York-London route on January 21, 1970.

Boeing 747 became the first double decker plane and also the first dual aisle aircraft in the world. In July 2020, after running the iconic jumbo aircraft programme for nearly 52 years, the aircraft maker announced it will end production of the ‘Queen of the Skies’ by the end of 2022 due to market preference.

In the 55-year period, Boeing built a total of 1,574 B747 aircraft with four engines for over 100 customers, including Air India. “Truly the passing of an era, and of a slice of our lives. The Boeing 747 is what got many like me obsessed or even infatuated with aviation. It represented freedom to travel and see the wondrous world to me as a young boy growing up in Calcutta. The most beautiful aircraft ever!,” tweeted Jet Airways 2.0 CEO-Designate, Sanjiv Kapoor on the final delivery of the B747 plane.

Air India was one of the early customers for these planes, inducting the 500-seating capacity aircraft in the fleet as early as in 1971. Besides using them for commercial operations for a little over 50 years, Air India also used two of these planes for flying the VVIPs ‘President, Vice President and Prime Minister’, which were replaced with two refurbished B777s in October 2020.

The jumbo also made its mark on global affairs, symbolising war and peace, from America’s “Doomsday Plane” nuclear command post to papal visits on chartered 747s nicknamed Shepherd One. Now, two previously delivered 747s are being fitted to replace U.S. presidential jets known globally as Air Force One.

As a Pan Am flight attendant, Linda Freier served passengers ranging from Michael Jackson to Mother Teresa. “It was an incredible diversity of passengers. People who were well dressed and people who had very little and spent everything they had on that ticket,” Freier said.

Boeing 747: The Start

Pan Am founder Juan Trippe sought to cut costs by increasing the number of seats. On a fishing trip, he challenged Boeing President William Allen to make something dwarfing the 707. Allen put legendary engineer Joe Sutter in charge. It took only 28 months for Sutter’s team known as “the Incredibles” to develop the 747 before the first flight on Feb. 9, 1969.

Although it eventually became a cash cow, the 747’s initial years were riddled with problems and the $1-billion development costs almost bankrupted Boeing, which believed the future of air travel lay in supersonic jets.

After a slump during the 1970s oil crisis, the plane’s heyday arrived in 1989 when Boeing introduced the 747-400 with new engines and lighter materials, making it a perfect fit to meet growing demand for trans-Pacific flights. “The 747 is the most beautiful and easy plane to land … It’s just like landing an armchair,” said Dickinson, who also chairs aviation maintenance firm Caerdav.

Boeing 747: The Finish

The same swell of innovation that got the 747 off the ground has spelled its end, as advances made it possible for dual-engine jets to replicate its range and capacity at lower cost. Yet the 777X, set to take the 747’s place at the top of the jet market, will not be ready until at least 2025 after delays. Nevertheless, the latest 747-8 version is set to grace the skies for years, chiefly as a freighter, having outlasted European Airbus’ double-decker A380 passenger jet in production.

With agencies inputs

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