Boeing Completes Final 747 Jumbo Jet

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The classic jet model is being retired after 54 years.

Originally debuted in 1969, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet has long served as an icon of achievement in aviation, functioning effectively as both a cargo carrier and a passenger plane. It was thanks to the 747 that many new flight routes could be established for long-haul trips, and the Presidential Air Force One is even built from the same model. However, time has passed, and more efficient models have rolled out, lowering the demand for the 747.

This week, Boeing officially completed construction on the very last 747, which will be delivered to Atlus Air as part of a deal set last year. This final delivery will be accompanied by a send-off ceremony as the 747 line is officially retired.

“If you love this business, you’ve been dreading this moment,” aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia told the Associated Press. “Nobody wants a four-engine airliner anymore, but that doesn’t erase the tremendous contribution the aircraft made to the development of the industry or its remarkable legacy.”

“It was the first big carrier, the first widebody, so it set a new standard for airlines to figure out what to do with it, and how to fill it,” said Guillaume de Syon, an aviation history professor at Pennsylvania’s Albright College. “It became the essence of mass air travel: You couldn’t fill it with people paying full price, so you need to lower prices to get people onboard. It contributed to what happened in the late 1970s with the deregulation of air travel.”

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