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Headline : The Aviation World Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Boeing's Iconic 747
Caption : British Airways, the world’s largest operator of Boeing 747s, will retire its entire fleet of jumbo jets with immediate effect after the the coronavirus pandemic sent air travel into freefall

The Aviation World Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Boeing's Iconic 747

Words & Picture Research By Jon Gillespie

In three weeks' time, Boeing's 747 will celebrate 50 years as the giant of aviation. The iconic airline completely revolutionised the way we travel. Its maiden flight took place in February 1969, taking more passengers than any other commercial airline and with a shorter flight time to far-flung places around the globe. Favoured by renowned airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa, Korean Air, and the now-defunct Pan-Am, the wide-body jet airliner is still to this day regarded as the 'Queen of the Skies'.

Over its 50 years of service, the 747 has seen many variations of its design which has enabled the long-haul favourite to carry up to 660 passengers at any one time and to fly for up to 7,670 nautical miles with maximum payload. The aircraft's versatile design has seen it adapted to be able to carry NASA's space program shuttles by 'piggyback'. Due to its wide-body design, the aircraft is used extensively in the freight and logistics industry. It has even been used to fight large-scale fires by dumping huge payloads of water from above, and is the choice of aircraft for America's leaders, as Air Force One.

The world’s largest operator of the Boeing 747 is British Airways, as they have 36 Boeing 747-400s in their fleet. While other airlines park the planes in the desert, British Airways up until now hasn’t announced any plans to retire the plane. However, some airlines are gradually retiring the aircraft in favour of more environmentally and cost-effective models, such as the Airbus A330.


2000s UK British Airways Newspaper Advert
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