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  • Writer's pictureAdvantage Worldwide

Goodbye to ‘Queen of the Skies’


It’s the end of an era. The very last Boeing 747 was delivered to its new owner on 31 January 2023, marking the final chapter for this iconic aircraft.


plane at sunset
The nose-loading capacity and ability to carry large-volume items made the 747 a cargo favourite

The ceremony was broadcast live online, as the aircraft was handed to US air cargo operator Atlas Air at Boeing’s Washington plant.


Atlas Air CEO John Dietrich thanked the Boeing employees. “As the world’s largest operator of 747 freighters, Atlas is especially proud to take the last 747 ever to be built. We are grateful to Boeing for its shared commitment to safety, quality, innovation and the environment, and for the partnership, to ensure the continued success of the 747 programme as we operate the aircraft for decades to come.”


The distinctive double-decker, known affectionately as “Queen of the Skies,” revolutionised intercontinental travel. The one-time flagship plane also appeared in James Bond films, and even gave piggyback rides to the Space Shuttle.


The distinctive double-decker revolutionised intercontinental travel

The final 747 won’t be carrying paying passengers. The last passenger 747 entered service over five years ago, prompted by airlines switching towards smaller and more economical aircraft. As of December 2022, there were only 44 passenger versions of the 747 still in service.


However, the 747 proved very popular amongst cargo operators. Features such as the nose-loading capacity and its ability to carry large-volume items made it a cargo favourite. There are still over 300,000 747 freighters in use, many of them having been renovated from passenger jets into freighters to accommodate changing market needs.


“The 747 is a symbol for many, many things, and above all, I think it’s a symbol for the world, which the 747 has made substantially smaller,” said Lufthansa CEO, Carsten Spohr.



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