The final Boeing 747 rolled off the production line on 6 December, bookmarking 54 years of production for the iconic aircraft.
The aircraft was the 1,574th 747 to be built by Boeing and was produced at the Boeing Paine Field facility in Everett, Washington.
Bringing the story of the 747 full circle, the facility in Everett, Washington was the same hangar that produced the very first 747 back in 1967.
The aircraft is set to be delivered to Atlas Air in the coming January after it completes its routine test flights.
Bearing the Manufacturer Serial Number 67150, the aircraft will be registered as N863GT once it has passed its flight checks.
The final 747’s life is set to be quite different to some of its predecessors that flew in the heyday of the 747, carrying passengers across the world for carriers such as Pan Am, Qantas, KLM and British Airways.
The latest 747 will be used as a cargo carrier for Atlas Airlines, and will likely never see commercial passengers aboard.
The idea for the 747 came at a time when the aviation industry was searching for larger capacity aircraft to meet surging demand from a middle and upper class that could afford to travel internationally.
Pan Am founder Juan Trippe personally requested that Boeing produce a plane that could carry large amounts of passengers and fly long distances.
Taking two years to design and build, the first 747s began to roll off the production line in 1968 and went into service with Pan Am in 1970.
Pan Am went on to become the 747’s biggest operator, housing and flying 47 of the 747-100s over the course of its operations.
The aircraft heralded a revolution in aviation, and its ability to carry up to 524 passengers earned it the ‘Jumbo Jet’ and ‘Queen of the Skies’ nicknames.
At twice the size of the Boeing 707, one of the most popular aircraft used by airlines in the 1960s, the 747 represented a huge leap forward for affordable air travel.
While this is the last 747 to be produced by Boeing, the aircraft will continue to fly for many years to come. There are currently over 400 Boeing 747s still in active service as of October 2022.
That said, it is expected that the 747s in active service will be gradually retired over the coming years, as the aircraft lacks the efficiency in fuel economy of more modern aircraft, which is a critical feature in an industry where skyrocketing fuel prices are stretching many airlines thin.