LONDON – With the recent delivery of the second to last Boeing 747 aircraft, only one aircraft remains. The airframe destined for Atlas Air, is a Boeing 747-8F (freighter), and is now in the final assembly stage with Boeing.
Last ever 747 in production
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has recently delivered the second to last Boeing 747 aircraft, before the Boeing 747 program comes to an end. Now, only one single Boeing 747-8F remains in the final assembly stage, destined for Atlas Air.
On November 23, Atlas Air confirmed they had received the third of four Boeing 747-8 freighters, which they ordered from Boeing last January.
The Boeing 747 and 767 programme manager Kim Smith, commented the following on the end of the 747 program: “As we say goodbye to the Queen of the Skies, we’re proud of her legacy as an airplane that propelled aviation innovation and later laid the foundation of our family of freighters,”
The latest deliveries
The delivery to Atlas Air on November 23, was intended for operations for the Swiss shipping and logistics company Kuehne+Nagel, and the last 747 delivery of their order will be no exception.
The Boeing 747-8F in question is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2023, marking the absolute end of the Boeing 747 production line, 53 years after the first example took flight in 1969.
Despite the Boeing 747 programme ending, Boeing will continue the support after deliveries, with Boeing Chief Executive David Calhoun stating the following in 2020: “Our customer commitment does not end at delivery, and we’ll continue to support 747 operations and sustainment well into the future.”
The end of the Boeing 747 production will also free up space at the Boeing site in Everett, just north of Seattle, where they produce the Boeing 767’s and 777’s .
The 747-8’s offerings
With the Boeing 747-8 programme, the program offered passenger and freighter versions of the aircraft type, both types powered by General Electric GE Aerospace GEnx-2B Turbofan engines.
Globally, there are now 92 Boeing 747-8F in service with carriers such as Atlas, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and Qatar. However, there are also multiple of these aircraft in use with passenger configurations as well, even some of then being Boeing Business Jets (BBJs).
Airframes like the Boeing 747-8 were only picked up in passenger configuration by Korean Air, Germany’s Lufthansa and Air China, where they still serve on great long-haul flights today.
Great progress in the freighter market
Despite the Boeing 747 programme ending, Boeing still remains in the freighter market, with the Boeing 767F and Boeing 777F becoming two great success-stories.
In 2027, Boeing also plans to deliver the first Boeing 777X-freighter, the Boeing 777-8F, which will have a range of 4,410 nautical miles and with the capability of carrying 112.3 tonnes of revenue generating cargo.
The Boeing 747 programme has really been an iconic piece of aviation history, so of course it is sad to see it all end. However, we see more environmentally friendly aircraft with the same purpose and two engines, becoming gradually more popular, hence why the end of the marque doesn’t come as a great shock.
With an exact delivery date unspecified at this time, all we can do is wait. However, the delivery will surely not go unnoticed.