Once used to airlift Indians from Kuwait, Boeing 747 pulled down from production lines

The aircraft has been one of the world’s most popular and was the first jumbo jet to hit the tarmac in 1969.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, December 08, 2022, 08:46 PM IST
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When the massive Boeing 747 first hit the tarmac in 1969, it inspired the term jumbo jet as the world was in awe of the aircraft that could carry 500 passengers at once. Since then, the company has manufactured 1574 units of the model, which may not be the world’s largest anymore, but remains iconic. Five decades after ruling the skies, the Boeing 747’s production has been stopped to make way for more fuel efficient alternatives.

Was being phased out for years

Nicknamed the Queen of the Skies, Boeing 747 was already being phased out since 2017 by American airlines such as United and Delta. During the pandemic Qantas and British Airways also bid adieu to one of the world’s most popular aircraft. The model had been known for bringing in the twin aisle design, which provided space for more passengers in the cabin.

Introduced an era of luxury travel

Over the 50 year journey, Boeing 747 has been used for moving cargo apart from passengers, and also as the US President’s official ride, the Air Force One. The extra space and the upper deck offered by Boeing 747, led to an era of luxury air travel in the 70s, with lounges, piano bars and cocktail bars offered for first class passengers by different carriers.

Life-saver for Indians in crisis

India’s national and now privatised carrier, Air India has also used four Boeing 747s named Agra, Ajanta, Velha Goa and Khajuraho, for the operation to evacuate Indians from Kuwait in 1990’s Operation Desert Storm. The same quartet was also deployed when students from China’s Wuhan had to be brought back home, when the world was shutting down because of the pandemic.

The airliner which inspired aviation brands to push the boundaries of the passenger experience by providing more space, has received tributes from many including Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The last of the giants, also called the Whale, was rolled out in a green protective covering and will be painted before being flown by a Boeing test pilot. After that the aircraft will be delivered to Atlas Air, to embark on its journey before the model is completely phased out by carriers.

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