Boeing delivers last 747, ‘Queen of the Skies’
STORY: It was a fond farewell to the so-called "Queen of the Skies" on Tuesday (February 1)-
as Boeing delivered its final 747 to Atlas Air, marking the end of the jumbo jet era.
Thousands of Boeing employees – including some of the so-called "Incredibles" who developed the jet in the 1960s – watched the last delivery of the historic plane.
Thomas H. Gray is one of them.
"It's a certain amount of nostalgia thinking about the fact that it is line number 1574, considering I was there at number one, it has been quite a story."
The Boeing 747 was the world's first twin-aisle jetliner, helping bring affordable air travel to millions of passengers.
It was designed and built in 28 months and Pan Am introduced it in 1970.
Customer demand has since eroded, as Boeing and Airbus have developed more fuel efficient two-engine widebody planes.
When Boeing confirmed in July 2020 that it would end 747 production, it was already only producing at a rate of half an aircraft a month.
Mike Stewart is another former Boeing employee.
"My wife told me this morning, don't start crying. So it's just very emotional. My father was one of the first employees here at Everett. He also transferred out from Wichita. My brother worked here. My sister worked here. And to see the last aircraft and realize that passing of time, it's a very emotional, very emotional."
British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, who was inspired to start an airline with a single Boeing 747 after getting stuck on a delayed flight, called it a "wonderful beast" as he bid farewell.