SEATTLE – February 9, 1969 is one of the most important days in civil aviation. On that day – today 50 years ago – the prototype of the Boeing 747 flew for the first time. The famous ‘Queen of the Skies’ would become a huge success and changed passenger flights for decades.
The story of the Boeing 747 is remarkable. Where the global aviation sector assumed that supersonic aircraft would quickly take over passenger flights, Boeing was working on the famous 747, which would be the largest passenger aircraft in the world for over 37 years.
The development of the Jumbo Jet almost brought the American aircraft manufacturer in serious problems. The aircraft was the largest and heaviest passenger aircraft of that time, and considerable investments were needed in new technology, including engines that could carry the Jumbo Jet.
Thanks to Pan Am, the project got off the ground. Pan Am’s first commercial flight with the 747 took place on January 22, 1970. Soon every self-respecting airline wanted the aircraft and thanks to the large capacity, flying for a large group of customers came within reach. As a result many airlines followed and ordered the Boeing 747.
KLM – the oldest airline in the world – would fly the Boeing 747 for the first time in 1971. In Europe, passenger flights are still being carried out with the Jumbo Jet by airlines such as KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways, but in the coming years the type will slowly disappear.
People can still enjoy the Queen of the Skies worldwide for many years to come as a cargo plane, for the future of the Boeing 747 seems to be mainly in freight transport.