Boeing's last 747 takes flight in Washington state

STORY: It marked the end of an era when the first-ever "jumbo jet" ruled the skies for the jumbo jet known as the "Queen of the Skies," the 747 was the world's first twin-aisle jetliner, which Boeing designed and built in 28 months and Pan Am introduced in 1970.

David Layland made the hours long trip from Vancouver, British Columbia, early this morning to see the freshly-built plane leave Boeing's plant one last time.

"The 747 is such an amazing airplane, and to see the last one with all the people that were here was a really next experience." said Layland.

Boeing's Everett, Washington, facility has been the 747's production site since the plane's conception. Built in 1967 to produce the mammoth jet, it remains the world's largest manufacturing plant according to Boeing.

But after five decades, customer demand for the 747 eroded as Boeing and Airbus 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.

Boeing delivered five 747s in 2022, while in 1990, the peak delivery year of the bestselling 747-400 version, Boeing delivered 70 747s.

As different sections of the last 747 – the wings or fuselage structures, for example – were complete, the production line "just slowly started to shut down," a Boeing official recently told Reuters.

While Boeing also builds the 767 and 777 in Everett, the company has yet to decide which program will permanently take over the 747 production bay, which is currently being used for 787 inventory and 777X work, Smith said.

Boeing will remain tied to the 747 through the aftermarket business and the Air Force One replacement program, which Boeing won in 2018.