The 1,574th and last B747 aircraft has left Boeing’s widebody factory in Everett, ahead of its delivery to Atlas Air early next year.

In July 2020 – shortly after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic – the manufacturer announced plans to cease production of its jumbo aircraft.

At the time Boeing had 16 B747 aircraft still to deliver – all freighter versions of the plane – and said it would stop production in 2022.

Boeing confirms end of B747 production

Atlas Air is the largest remaining operator of the B747, with a predominantly cargo fleet complemented by a handful of passenger jumbos used for VIP charter services.

The B747 first entered service with Pan Am in January 1970, and passenger and freighter versions of the aircraft continue to be flown by around 70 airlines worldwide.

But many major carriers have retired their B747 fleets in recent years, in favour of more fuel efficient aircraft.

Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic waved goodbye to their last jumbos in 2020, with several of BA’s B747s destined for new lives as film sets, private cinemas and permanent exhibitions.

Two more British Airways B747s saved from scrapheap

Commenting on the news  Kim Smith, Boeing vice president and general manager, 747 and 767 Programmes, said:

“For more than half a century, tens of thousands of dedicated Boeing employees have designed and built this magnificent airplane that has truly changed the world. We are proud that this plane will continue to fly across the globe for years to come.”