MIAMI – Boeing 747 customer Atlas Air (5Y) confirmed that the last unit of the aircraft type is expected to be delivered in October 2022.

It will be one of the four aircrafts 5Y ordered at the beginning of the year. These Boeing 747-8 freighters will be the last ones in the entire 747 history.

The Boeing 747-8 is the last version of the widebody. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

Historic Airplane

The Boeing 747 program is now over 50 years old. The first type of the jumbo-jet, the 747-100, entered service with Pan American on January 22, 1970. A newer and more efficient version of the aircraft, the 747-200, made its first flight in the same year, and entered service in 1971.

The -200 was divided in four different versions: the -200B for passengers, -200F for freight, and the -200C for a convertible aircraft. Two 747-200s were used as Air Force One, carrying the American government for almost 30 years.

Boeing then built the 747-SP, the 747-300, the 747-400 and finally the 747-8. This last version operated its maiden flight in 2011. The widebody was very popular among many airlines, and over 1,500 aircrafts were ordered. However, the last version, the 747-8, was not as popular as Boeing expected, especially in the passenger version, with only 47 aircrafts ordered.

The widebody is famous for having reshaped the world of commercial aviation. It has been nicknamed “The Queen of the Skies”, and it was the largest commerical airplane for 37 years, before the A380 was built.

The Boeing 747 is especially popular in its freighter version. Passenger airlines are now keen to retire their jets, to replace them with newer, more efficient and economic aircrafts. However, the 747 is still very important for Cargo companies.

Most of 5Y aircrafts are 747 freighters. Photo: John Leivaditis/Airways

The Last Deliveries

There are only seven Boeing 747s to deliver. These aircrafts are all freighters, and are expected to be delivered in less than a year now. The first three of those 747-8F are going to UPS (5X). The should be delivered before the end of the year.

The last four of them are the ones ordered by 5Y. They should all be delivered in 2022; with the last one leaving Boeing in October.

When ordering the last Boeing 747Fs, 5Y President and CEO John Dietrich declared, “the 747-8F is the best and most versatile widebody freighter in the market, and we are excited to bolster our fleet with the acquisition of these four aircrafts”. This order will allow 5Y to replace its Boeing 747-400 Freighter fleet.

According to the CEO, it is only fitting that 5Y, after starting “28 years ago with a single 747”, receives the last units of this unique and historic aircraft.

It is sad to know that the story of the iconic Jumbo is ending soon. The aircraft flew for many decades all around the world, in many different airlines. However, the type, especially the Freighter versions, still have a very important role to play in the decades to come.

Featured image: 5Y will receive the last Boeing 747 ever built. Photo: Julian Schöpfer/Airways