It’s the end of an era, one that revolutionized travel and brought the world closer together. After the Feb. 1, 2023 delivery of the last 747 built – a 747-8F registered as N863GT to Atlas Air – no new 747s will ever again depart from Boeing’s manufacturing plant in Everett, Washington.
Every AvGeek knows the story of the 747. Designed and built by the Incredibles – the group of engineers and mechanics and line workers who, in the late 1960s, created an unusual-looking airplane that would, in its way, change the world.
Boeing held a two-day event to commemorate the delivery of the final 747, to Atlas Air. Thousands of people were in attendance for the event, filling a section of the former 747 assembly line, which is being dismantled and the space repurposed.
Cargolux's first Boeing 747-8F (LX-VCB) takes off from Paine Field earlier today. Photo by Boeing. Click for hi-res.
No music, no balloons and no Champagne to celebrate Boeing’s first delivery of their new 747-8F (LX-VCB) yesterday. It is really sort of sad that so much has gone into making the new 747-8F and it took off from Paine Field with almost no fanfare.
The plane was supposed to be delivered with three days of celebration on September 19th. Cargolux was not happy with the 747’s performance and went into negotiations with GE and Boeing. All three companies were silent during these negotiations and it wasn’t until September 30th, that Cargolux/Qatar Airways announced it was looking to take delivery on October 12th. Many were waiting to see what would happen after an October 7th board meeting, but all three still remained mostly silent.
The Boeing 747-8F gets its first real cargo load at SEA. Photo by the Port of Seattle.
It was not until early yesterday morning that rumors started to turn into facts when it became clear that Cargolux would take delivery of their first 747-8F. Even though it should have been a happy day, it just feels like it was sort of stolen. Yes, it is great that in the last 30-days, Boeing has finally delivered not only their first 747-8F, but also their first 787 Dreamliner, but it is just unfortunate that all the employees who have spent many hours on the aircraft were not able to celebrate like the 787 team did.
Nose up. Cargo in. It didn't take long for Cargolux to put their new 747-8F to work. Photo from the Port of Seattle.
After being handed over to Cargolux, LX-VCB’s first flight was short. A quick hop from Paine Field (PAE), down to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) where it took a few hours to be loaded with cargo and then off to Luxembourg. Although seeing a Cargolux Boeing 747 at SEA is nothing new.
Cargolux is one SEA’s longest serving cargo carriers which began in 1983 and in 2010, the airline shipped 8,796 metric tons of cargo through SEA. “We appreciate the commitment by Cargolux to this region’s freight hauling capacity by placing this historic aircraft into service right here at Sea-Tac,” said Mark Reis, Managing Director of Sea-Tac Airport. “This investment by our freight partner highlights the capabilities of Sea-Tac’s air cargo service as an economic engine to our entire region.”
Easy does it. Surely don't want to damage a brand new plane. Photo from the Port of Seattle.
It is interesting that on Boeing’s press release for the delivery, they don’t give exact numbers on the 747-8’s increased performance vs the 747-400. ’œThe 747-8 Freighter offers double-digit improvements in fuel burn, operating cost and lower emissions over the airplane it replaces.’ Previously Boeing has stated a 16% performance gain, which Carglux has stated there is a 2.7% shortfall in that gain, which has caused the delivery delay.