The last Boeing 747 leaves the factory

The last Boeing 747 leaves the factory

The last Boeing 747 leaves the factory

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More than two dozen airlines had already committed to buying the 747 when it was first shown to the public. In 1970, the 747 made its first commercial flight, carrying more than 300 Pan Am passengers to London from New York.


It became an instant public sensation. The four-engine aircraft was much larger than any other and could accommodate hundreds of people in rows with up to 10 seats. The upper deck, accessible by a spiral staircase, housed a luxurious salon. American Airlines has installed a piano bar in the main cabin.

Orders began to pour in, bringing much-needed revenue to Boeing. Owning a 747 has become a status symbol for airlines. Some companies bought the plane even though it didn’t quite suit their needs.

The main reason airlines bought the plane was because the 747 helped them cut costs. Because the plane could carry many more passengers in a single trip, airlines could sell tickets more cheaply, making air travel affordable for the masses.

Boeing produced several versions of the aircraft in the 1970s and 1980s for different uses and to improve its haul capability and flight range. In 1989, the company unveiled a major upgrade, the 747-400, which became the aircraft’s best-selling model. Boeing sold more 747s in the 1990s than in any other decade.

But as popular as the plane had become, the world was beginning to move.

Smaller, more efficient twin-engine aircraft could now fly longer distances. Their small size meant airlines could offer direct international connections between smaller cities, such as St. Louis and Frankfurt.

In the mid-1990s, Boeing also introduced the 777, which was about as big as the 747. With only two engines, it was more advanced and more efficient. A decade later, Boeing’s main rival Airbus launched the A380, which can carry more passengers than the 747. But Airbus struggled to sell the plane and announced the end of production in 2019 .


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