Boeing 747 jumbo jet turns 50, but its future remains uncertain

EVERETT, Wash.,- The original Jumbo Jet, the Queen of the Skies, the bubble-topped Boeing: in the Seventies the 747's vast size made long-haul travel a viable option for the masses for the first time. Since that February morning in the north-west of America (that aircraft, the RA001, can today be seen at Seattle's Museum of Flight), more than 1500 of the aircraft have been built, serving the world's airlines tirelessly. But here, half a century later, the 747 is disappearing from the skies as the likes of Qantas, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa phase them out in favour of newer planes; yet still the production plant rumbles on, with newer variations and an increased desire for the jet as a cargo aircraft, writes Hugh Morris for Traveler.

Feb 11th, 2019
Boeing 747 jumbo jet turns 50, but its future remains uncertain
Boeing 747 jumbo jet turns 50, but its future remains uncertain
EVERETT, Wash.,- The original Jumbo Jet, the Queen of the Skies, the bubble-topped Boeing: in the Seventies the 747's vast size made long-haul travel a viable option for the masses for the first time. Since that February morning in the north-west of America (that aircraft, the RA001, can today be seen at Seattle's Museum of Flight), more than 1500 of the aircraft have been built, serving the world's airlines tirelessly. But here, half a century later, the 747 is disappearing from the skies as the likes of Qantas, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa phase them out in favour of newer planes; yet still the production plant rumbles on, with newer variations and an increased desire for the jet as a cargo aircraft, writes Hugh Morris for Traveler.

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The Intelligent Aerospace take:

February 11, 2019-The iconic Boeing 747 is still being produced, but its numbers are dwindling. Boeing reported just 18 of the jumbo jets were ordered last year and airlines are phasing out the design for more fuel efficient models, like the company's newer 777X and 737 MAX. British Airways says it will retire the last of its aging 747s in 2024, and will be flying Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350-1000.

Related: 747 gets cold shoulder as two airlines scoop up 777 freighters at Paris Air Show

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Related: Virgin has successful test with 747 carrying air-launched satellite delivery rocket

Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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