Lufthansa will fly away today with the 1,500th 747 ever produced.
The Boeing 747-800 first flew on 2011; the -800 introduced a series of improvements on the 747 like redesign of its wings, new cabin features and new engines. The fuselage was stretched from 232 to 251 feet (70.8 to 76.4 m). The cockpit of the -8 is equipped with same technology as the 787.
This is a major milestone for an aircraft which has been in production since 1968 that contributed to the creation of ultra-long routes and reshaped the global air travel.
“It’s the most recognizable aircraft produced today,” says Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s 747 program. “Fifteen-hundred 747s is a huge number, especially for an airplane this size. To partner with Lufthansa, to send them this airplane, is really something special.”
But the number of 747s coming off Boeing’s production line north of Seattle has slowed down to just 1.5 per month, from about 6 per month in 1990. Airlines show today an increasing preference for two-engine widebody jets, like the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777, these aircraft can seat less people, but burn less fuel on comparable flying distances.