The final 747 jumbo jet rolled out of Boeing’s Everett plant late Tuesday, marking a milestone for both the iconic airplane and the giant assembly plant that was built for the jet in the late 1960s.
The final 747-8 freighter model will fly to Portland for painting before Christmas and return to Everett early in the new year. It will undergo standard testing of fuel and other systems and then be inspected by its buyer, the cargo company Atlas Air that purchased Boeing’s last three 747s.
Atlas will take delivery some weeks after its return to Everett and at that point Boeing plans a farewell celebration of its “Queen of the Skies.”
The first 747 rolled out at the same airfield on Sept. 30, 1968. With its distinctive humped upper deck, it’s the only airplane many flyers can recognize on first sight.
The final model, the 747-8, was introduced in 2009 and is the largest 747 type made during the plane’s five decades in production.
Once a U.S. air travel mainstay, the last 747 carrying passengers domestically was retired in 2018. Several airlines fly passengers on a 747-8 internationally, including Lufthansa and Korean Air.
The 747 remains a popular cargo carrier, in part because that hump allows the nose to swing open vertically and extra large cargo can be loaded through the giant opening.
Boeing hopes its new, more efficient 777X will replace its larger predecessor. Like the 747, the 777X will be assembled at the Everett plant.
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