(CNN) — Greater than half a century because the authentic jumbo jet ushered in a glamorous new jet age, serving to deliver reasonably priced air journey to tens of millions of passengers, the last-ever Boeing 747 was delivered on Tuesday, marking the beginning of the ultimate chapter for the much-loved airplane.
In a ceremony that was broadcast stay on-line, the plane was handed over to its new proprietor, US air cargo operator Atlas Air, at Boeing’s plant in Everett, Washington.
In a dramatic opening of the hangar’s sliding doorways, Atlas Air’s new aircraft was revealed behind flags bearing the liveries of each service that is ever taken supply of a 747. The corporate has 56 of the plane in its fleet.
One small important element on the final one delivered: a decal proper subsequent to the nostril paying homage to Joe Sutter, chief engineer of the Boeing 747 program, who died in 2016 and is taken into account by many because the “father” of this well-known plane. Members of the Sutter household, in addition to members of the Boeing household representing the corporate’s founder, Invoice Boeing, attended the supply ceremony on Tuesday.
John Dietrich, president and CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide, thanked the meeting of Boeing workers.
“The impact of your work continues well beyond the production lines,” Dietrich stated. “It has fueled childhood dreams and career ambitions while at the same time driving global economies and supply chains.”
Boeing and Atlas Air Worldwide joined hundreds of individuals to have fun the supply of the ultimate 747 to Atlas, bringing to an in depth greater than a half century of manufacturing.
Dietrich additionally shared a flight plan spelling out “747” that the brand new aircraft is about to fly on Wednesday.
A string of audio system representing corporations which have relied on the 747 got here to have fun the plane.
“The 747 is a symbol for many, many things, and above all, I think it’s a symbol for the world, which the 747 has made substantially smaller,” stated Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr.
Actor and pilot John Travolta, who narrated a collection of movies chronicling the plane’s colourful historical past, appeared to thank the staff of Boeing for “the most well-thought-out and safest aircraft ever built.”
Whereas the ultimate 747 will not be carrying paying passengers, its supply is one other milestone for the distinctive double-decker “Queen of the Skies,” which revolutionized intercontinental journey whereas additionally showing in James Bond movies and even giving piggyback rides to the Area Shuttle.
With the final passenger 747 having entered service greater than 5 years in the past, the top of the 747’s enduring profession now strikes even nearer, hastened by airways switching their preferences to smaller and extra economical plane.
Tuesday’s supply is a second lengthy anticipated by the worldwide aviation neighborhood. Expectant airplane fans have adopted each step of the ultimate 747’s building, ever since Boeing introduced in July 2020 that it was ceasing manufacturing of its one-time flagship.
It was the introduction of the European double-decker aircraft within the early 2000s that prompted Boeing to announce, in 2005, one final model of the 747 design that by that point was already beginning to present its age.
The B747-8I (or B747-8 Intercontinental), as this final variant of the venerable jumbo jet known as, proved to be a swan music for big four-engined airliners.
As of December 2022, there are solely 44 passenger variations of the 747 nonetheless in service, in response to aviation analytics agency Cirium. That complete is down from greater than 130 in service as passenger jets on the finish of 2019, simply earlier than the pandemic crippled demand for air journey, particularly on worldwide routes on which the 747 and different widebody jets had been primarily used. Most of these passenger variations of the jets had been grounded throughout the early months of the pandemic and by no means returned to service.
Lufthansa stays the most important operator of the passenger model of the B747-8, with 19 in its present fleet and potential commitments to maintain the jumbo flying passengers for years, presumably a long time, to return.
World’s largest constructing
The 747 has confirmed extra fashionable amongst cargo operators. There are nonetheless 314 747 freighters in use, in response to Cirium, a lot of which had been initially used as passenger jets earlier than being renovated into freighters.
Options such because the distinctive nose-loading functionality, and the cockpit’s elevated place, leaving the entire size of the decrease fuselage out there to hold large-volume objects, have made it a cargo favourite.
Tuesday’s supply additionally brings questions on what’s going to occur to Boeing’s huge Everett manufacturing facility, wherein the 747 has been produced since 1967.
This facility was purpose-built for the Boeing 747 and is, in response to the corporate, the most important constructing on this planet by quantity. It is since served as the primary manufacturing location for Boeing’s wide-body airliners, the 767, 777 and 787 (the best-selling narrow-body 737, nonetheless, is produced at Renton, one other location within the Seattle space).
Developments in the previous few years have been shifting the corporate’s industrial middle of gravity elsewhere.
Along with dropping the B747, Everett lately misplaced the 787 manufacturing line, after Boeing determined to consolidate manufacturing at its plant in Charleston, South Carolina.
US presidential planes
What’s extra, in response to these similar sources, Boeing can also produce extra B737s in Everett. Manufacturing of this bestselling mannequin presently takes place at one other facility in Renton, additional south within the better Seattle space.
Regardless of the fanfare of January 31, there are nonetheless two extra Boeing 747 deliveries pending — they usually’re certainly not abnormal.
These are the 2 new US presidential planes, that are technically known as VC-25, even when they’re popularly known as “Air Force One” (a name signal that’s solely used when the US President is on board).
These two planes have already been constructed, having initially been destined for Russian airline Transaero, which went bankrupt in 2015. The 2 future Air Drive Ones are presently present process an intensive program of modifications to organize them for presidential service.
CNN’s Chris Isidore contributed to this story.