Remembering the Boeing 747, the jumbo jet that started it all

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According to people in the know, Boeing looks like it’s discontinuing its iconic 747 jumbo jet. In just two years time, the last of the twin-aisle jumbos will leave its Seattle-based factory.

The news comes from a Bloomberg report that cites “people familiar with the matter,” who say the news hasn’t officially been announced to Boeing‘s employees but can be “teased out from subtle wording changes in financial statements.” I guess we’ll just have to take their word for it, for now.

[Read: Remembering the Nucleon, Ford’s 1958 nuclear-powered concept car that never was]

Here’s what Boeing told Bloomberg on the matter:

At a build rate of half an airplane per month, the 747-8 program has more than two years of production ahead of it in order to fulfill our current customer commitments. We will continue to make the right decisions to keep the production line healthy and meet customer needs.

While that might be diplomatic business speak unwilling to tell it like it is, it certainly sounds like the 747 will be no more as orders dry up.

As Bloomberg also points out, Airbus recently manufactured the last fuselage components for its A380 jumbo. Along with Boeing‘s rig, this marks a bit of a turning point for long-haul wide-body aircraft. It looks like it’s end of days for the iconic aircraft that brought affordable long-distance travel to the masses and executive luxury to those that could afford it.

Whether we realize it or not, for many, the Boeing 747 is what’s in our mind when we say jumbo jet. But sadly, the four engine, double aisle, mega planes weren’t set to stand the test of time. Like Concorde, they could be heading to the history books. It seems most airlines now favor slightly smaller twin-engined planes for long-haul travel. In reality, the superjumbos were never a great commercial success.

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