Boeing held a ceremony worthy of the importance of the 747 in its history in order to deliver the last aircraft of the model manufactured for the freighter company Atlas Air.
The event, as it could not be otherwise, was held at the Everett factory, which was built precisely to handle the production of the “Jumbo jet”, then an unprecedented commercial aircraft in aviation.
With the presence of thousands of employees and guests, including former members of the team that developed the 747, the president of the commercial division, Stan Deal, led a presentation that told a little of the history of the iconic aircraft.
“Queen of the Skies”
Among the guests were the CEO of Atlas Air and also relatives of Juan Trippé, the former president of the airline Pan Am, a customer who asked Boeing to create a large-capacity commercial jet in the 1960s.
The work of Joe Sutter, the project’s chief engineer, who gave the 747 such famous shapes and passed away in 2016, was remembered during the ceremony.
Traditional customers of the “Queen of the Skies” also took to the stage in Everett’s massive hangars, such as Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr and former executives of Japan Air Lines, which operated the world’s largest fleet of 747 passengers.
The final 747 is a 747-8F freighter model that kept the assembly line running for a few more years as the passenger version lost appeal in the market.
The aircraft, registration N863GT, is the 1,574th to leave the Everett factory and will be operated by Atlas Air on behalf of Californian company Apex Logistics.
“This monumental day is a testament to the generations of Boeing employees who brought to life the airplane that ‘shrank the world,’ and revolutionized travel and air cargo as the first widebody,” said Stan Deal. “It is fitting to deliver this final 747-8 Freighter to the largest operator of the 747, Atlas Air, where the ‘Queen’ will continue to inspire and empower innovation in air cargo.”