Boeing announces the end of production of the iconic 747 in 2022

After more than 50 years, Boeing will be pulling the plug on the production of its most iconic aircraft, the Boeing 747. Known as the "Queen of the Skies" due to its unique beauty, and "jumbo jet" due to the skies, the 747 has incredibly shaped air travel to what it is today.

Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. Getty Images

The U.S. based aerospace company has confirmed that they will halt production of the jumbo jet amid the coronavirus crisis that has severely hit the airline industry. Boeing will also reduce the production rate of its 777X, 787, and 737 jets in response to the slowdown of air travel.

Despite the end of production in 2022, Boeing will keep the production rate of the 747-8F, the freighter version of the latest version of the 747 which is the 747-8. 

Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun in a letter to the employees said, "While our 767 and 747 rates remain unchanged, in light of the current market dynamics and outlook, we’ll complete production of the iconic 747 in 2022. Our customer commitment does not end at delivery, and we’ll continue to support 747 operations and sustainment well into the future.”

747-8F. Getty Images

The most iconic passenger aircraft ever built

The Boeing 747 jumbo jet is considered as the most iconic passenger aircraft ever built. Built in the 1960s which first entered passenger service with Pan American World Airways (Pan Am), the 747 was the only jet aircraft with a hump on its fuselage. Its sheer size earned it the nickname "jumbo jet" but its beautiful iconic shape gave it its "Queen of the Skies" description.

As of June 20, more than 1,500 747s were built, a true testament that it was well loved by numerous global airlines also due to its versatility and range. 

Boeing 747-400. Getty Images

Most versatile aircraft

The 747 platform is known for its versatility due to its many uses in aviation. The jumbo jet is being used for the following purposes:
  • Passenger aircraft (747-100, 747-200, 747SP, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400ER, 747-400M, 747-8 Intercontinental)
  • Full-fledge cargo aircraft (747-200F, 747-400F, 747-8F)
  • Military aircraft (VC-25A Air Force One, E-4 "Doomsday Plane")
  • Space Shuttle Transporter (747-100 SCA)
  • Water Tanker (747 Supertanker)
  • Research aircraft (747 SOFIA)
Boeing 747-100 SCA. Getty Images

No other commercial aircraft has proved to be as versatile as the 747, demonstrating its use for different purposed, and not just to transport passengers and cargo. Not even its newer rival, the Airbus A380 has been used extensively for other purposes than the 747.

Boeing E-4 Doomsday aircraft. Getty Images

World's fastest subsonic passenger aircraft today

Currently, the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, the latest version of the jumbo, is the world's fastest passenger aircraft today. It has a maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.86. Its older brother, the 747-400 falls in at second place with a maximum speed of March 0.855. The 747's newest and biggest rival, the Airbus A380, has a top speed of Mach 0.84.

The A380 will be ending production in 2021, a year earlier than the 747.,

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