Boeing Stock Rose After Delivering the Final 747, the “Queen of the Skies”

Boeing Stock

Boeing Stock (NYSE:BA)

With the delivery of the last 747 to Atlas Air (NASDAQ:AAWW) on Tuesday afternoon, Boeing said goodbye to the era in which the first-ever “giant jet” commanded the skies. As a result, Boeing stock surged. 

Thousands of Boeing (NYSE:BA) personnel saw the final delivery of the historic aircraft, including some of the so-called “Incredibles” who designed the jet in the 1960s.

John Travolta visited as a guest of honor at the massive production complex. He spoke about his experience learning to fly the 747-400 while working as an ambassador for Qantas Airlines. Travolta says the jet is the “most well thought out and safest aircraft ever designed.” Still, the training for it is “the hardest curriculum that any commercial pilot will ever have to undertake.”

The 747, dubbed “Queen of the Skies” after its debut by Pan Am in 1970, was the first twin-aisle aircraft and was planned and manufactured by Boeing in 28 months.

Co-author of “Boeing 747: Design and Development Since 1969,” Guy Norris calls the 747 “the aircraft that changed the industry and transformed air travel.”

Earlier on Tuesday, British billionaire Richard Branson, inspired to launch an airline with a single Boeing 747 after being stranded on a delayed journey, dubbed the plane a “beautiful beast” as he said goodbye.

Producing 747s has always taken place in Boeing’s Everett, Washington factory. According to Boeing stock, the factory constructed in 1967 to create the massive aircraft is still the biggest in the world.

Customer demand for the 747 eventually waned after it had been in service for half a century because more fuel-efficient two-engine widebody jets were being built by Boeing and Airbus. Boeing’s manufacturing pace for the 747 had already dropped to half an airplane per month by the time the company announced its decision to cease 747 productions in July 2020.

Five 747s were delivered by Boeing in 2022, compared to 70 747s in 1990, the year of the 747-400’s highest delivery year.

Kim Smith, Boeing’s vice president, and general manager for the 747 and 767 projects claimed that the assembly line “simply gently began to wind down” when various parts of the last 747 were completed, such as the wings or fuselage components.

Smith said all 747 program employees were reassigned to other positions or retired willingly.

The 1,574th and last Boeing 747 was delivered on December 7. After passing its testing, the aircraft flew to Portland over the holidays to be repainted. Wednesday morning, the jet will take out for Cincinnati, Ohio, home of Atlas.

Although the 767 and 777 are assembled at Boeing’s Everett facility, Smith said the firm has yet to decide which program would permanently move into the 747 manufacturing bay.

Having won the Air Force One replacement contract in 2018, Boeing will continue to be involved with the 747 via the aftermarket.

Although the 777X, the plane widely considered to be the 747’s spiritual successor, won’t be ready for delivery until 2025, Boeing CEO David Calhoun spent his farewell speech looking ahead to that time, saying, “The 777, the next plane to dominate this space, displaced all its competition just like that – and we haven’t even introduced the best version.”

Featured Image: Freepik

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About the author: I'm a financial journalist with more than 1.5 years of experience. I have worked for different financial companies and covered stocks listed on ASX, NYSE, NASDAQ, etc. I have a degree in marketing from Bahria University Islamabad Campus (BUIC), Pakistan.