There is perhaps no other commercial airliner as iconic as the Boeing 747. A presence in our skies for over fifty years, it has transported millions of passengers across the world. Since its introduction with Pan American Airlines in 1970, it has persevered as one of the forerunners of commercial flight. Often labeled as the ‘Queen of the Skies’.
But what makes this aircraft so special? Why was it admired by the passengers and aircrew alike? And how did the 747 changed the International air travel?
The first wide-body, and with a special interior design
It was the first aircraft to have almost vertical sidewalls and a high ceiling, giving passengers a feeling of space and openness-instead of these long, thin tube cabins. However, the 747’s cabin was split up into “rooms” with galleys and lavatories installed as dividers.
One of the World’s Most Popular Choices for Cargo Aircraft
The 747 holds a maximum gross payload of 128.5 metric tonnes. It has wide-fuselage and a maximum fuel capacity of 216,846 liters. The freighter model features a large side door and a nose door, making loading the airplane an easy and flexible task.
The 747 was the most exclusive club in the sky
The aircraft was seen as a status symbol for airlines, with the extra space allowing for additional luxuries and extravagances in some airlines.
Most airlines of the time, including Pan Am and Qantas, used their upper decks for as bars, lounges, or restaurants. It was a charming place where passengers could relish away while flying high in an enclosed tube.
Its excellence went unprecedented for decades in spite of a long list of competitors until Airbus unveiled a dual-level and quad-engine aircraft of its own, the Airbus A380.
And with the rise of a fuel-efficient, dual-engine aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 XWB, the need and willingness for the quad engine aircraft such as the 747 and A380 has deflated over the years.
And unfortunately, the health pandemic that the globe is facing nowadays has accelerated the retirement of the 747 from airlines, including Qantas, British Airways, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and Corsair.
The 747-8i will be the last 747 line as Boeing will be ending production by 2023. The manufacturer confirmed the end of the road for the jet and has reportedly placed the last parts order for its final aircraft.
As the Queen of the Skies nears the end of its era, its legacy will surely live on forever as the aircraft that revolted the aviation industry and made the world a smaller place for over 50 years.