After 54 years, the 1,574th and final Boeing 747 rolled out of the company’s Everett, Washington, factory Tuesday night.
“For more than half a century, tens of thousands of dedicated Boeing employees have designed and built this magnificent airplane. … We are proud that this plane will continue to fly across the globe for years to come,” Kim Smith, Boeing vice president and general manager of 747 and 767 programs, said in the company’s announcement.
The completed aircraft, a freighter model, is bound for cargo carrier Atlas Air, which ordered four such planes early this year. It’s set to be delivered in early 2023, according to Boeing.
The advent of two-engine jets largely transitioned the 747 models from primarily passenger jets to freight planes. Forty-four Boeing 747 jets are still flying passengers, with 25 of those belonging to German carrier Lufthansa, according to CNN.
For freight, the 747 still carries a significant upside.
“With a maximum payload of 307,000 pounds, we use them on long, high-volume routes, connecting Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East,” UPS told CNN.
For those at Boeing, and its Everett factory, the end of the 747 is the end of an era. The factory itself was constructed in 1967 to serve as a manufacturing plant for the coming wave of 747 jets.
“It’s a very surreal time, obviously. For the first time in well over 50 years we will not have a 747 in this facility,” Ms. Smith told CNBC.