Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has officially retired its iconic Boeing 747 airplane after more than 50 years of production.
- Earlier this week, the final Boeing 747 left the factory as the company retired the model half a century after it was first manufactured.
- The Boeing 747 made its debut in 1969 and was referred to as the “Jumbo Jet.”
- “From the early days of commercial aviation, flying was limited to business travelers and those with the means to purchase the very expensive tickets. Destinations were also limited, requiring a number of connections to fly between major cities. In 1969, that all changed as an incredible invention was revealed to the world,” Boeing says in a 50th anniversary tribute to the plane.
- This final 747 will arrive in 2023 as it is delivered to Atlas Air.
Why it’s news
The creation of the 747 changed the way that many people thought of air travel. Before the availability of the Jumbo Jet, flights were shorter and more expensive as travelers had to make more connections. The massive planes were able to make flying more accessible to the everyday traveler.
Boeing 747 have also become a familiar sight in pop culture as a symbol of the aviation industry. In 1983, NASA used a modified 747 to carry its reusable space shuttle.
In addition to its role as an iconic symbol, the plan also debuted features such as the two aisles running up and down the plane.
Since production of the plane began, Boeing has produced 1,574 of the jets. The 747-8 model remains the longest commercial aircraft in service at just over 250 feet in length. Air Force One, the plane that flies the President of the United States, is a 747.
“For more than half a century, tens of thousands of dedicated Boeing employees have designed and built this magnificent airplane that has truly changed the world. We are proud that this plane will continue to fly across the globe for years to come,” Boeing vice president Kim Smith says.
The 747 is being retired as airlines are preferring more modern planes that have better fuel efficiency.