The age of the Jumbo jet began more than 50 years ago when Boeing launched the 747. As the final aircraft nears delivery, Bruce Hales-Dutton details the latest, and now last-ever, variant.
Few people in the industry were surprised when Boeing announced the end of the 747 in 2020 after four decades of production.
Sales had slowed to a trickle, and the manufacturer dropped a broad hint as early as 2016, that the axe was poised over the latest version of the aircraft which revolutionised air travel more than 50 years ago. Tucked away in the dense, 60-page quarterly financial report published by the company at the end of July 2016, was the tantalising statement that “it is reasonably possible that we could decide to end production of the 747”.