The last Boeing 747 airliner to ever be manufactured left the factory on the night of Tuesday, December 6. It exited its hangar in Everett, Washington for a test flight and will soon be delivered to Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings.
Jon Sutter, the grandson of 747 designer Joe Sutter, lamented the end of the model’s run after an impactful 50 years. In light of the 1,574th Boeing 747 jumbo jet’s departure, Sutter said, “It’s kind of a sad occasion.”
Once marking a new era in commercial aviation, 747s have been used exclusively as cargo planes for some time now, ever since 2011 when the first cargo version was produced.
Prior to this, the 747 was primarily used as a passenger plane, as it could transport over 400 passengers and reach around 8,000 nautical miles. Its first commercial flight was in 1970.
Boeing now will only be producing two other wide-body jets, the 787 Dreamliner and the 777, which is the largest twin-jet plane in the world. Though plans for the 777’s next generation, 777x, continue to be delayed, the hope is that production will begin in 2025. This version will hold 426 passengers and have a range of 7,285 nautical miles.
Boeing has been undergoing other delays. A few weeks ago, the company came under heat for delaying the production of new Air Force One jets yet again. The process has been ongoing since 2018, when “the Trump administration reached a new $3.9 billion deal [with the manufacturer] to replace the out-of-date Boeing 747-200Bs for presidential use.”
It was expected that the new planes would be in use by 2024. It is now suspected that these planes will not be ready until 2028.
Due to these delays, older models will continue to be used until 2028, which comes at an unexpected cost. This could cost taxpayers over $300 million dollars, according to The Dallas Express. A statement from Boeing blames the delays on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boeing is also in the process of making a deal with the Pentagon, under which the contractor would provide Ukraine with small precision bombs that are cheap to produce.