Boeing to rollout final 747 jumbo jet from Everett factory

After more than half a century in production, the last example of Boeing’s 747 ‘Jumbo Jet,’ the iconic airliner that brought long-range wide-body air travel to the world, has rolled off the production line. With the closure of the production line for the ‘Queen of the Skies,’ the era of the four-engine airliner also ends, with Boeing and rival Airbus now having fully transitioned to twin-engine wide-body airliner families.

The last Model 747, the 1,574th to be completed, will emerge from Boeing’s Everett, Washington, facility today. The aircraft will be test flown by the manufacturer before being painted and delivered to its customer, the cargo and charter carrier Atlas Air, early next year.

The 747 program began life in the late 1960s when a Boeing team dubbed “the Incredibles” were responsible for developing what was then the largest civilian aircraft in the world in a space of only around 16 months.

Building the Jumbo Jet required the construction of a giant new assembly hall in Everett. Measuring 200 million cubic feet, and in use to this day, Boeing claims this is still the largest building in the world by volume.

For long, the 747 had capitalized on its ‘biggest is best’ mantra, but by the beginning of the 21st century, operators were looking for fuel efficiency and overall economy, rather than simply moving the largest number of passengers over the longest distances — and, at the same time, being restricted to larger airport hubs.