Boeing 747 - The original 'Jumbo Jet', making aviation history
The first wide-body plane every produced, the Boeing 747 is commonly referred to as the original 'Jumbo Jet', and has become the most popular commercial aircraft in the world. With its characteristic double deck, the aircraft has capacity for between 400 and 500 passengers, and today counts British Airways, United Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Korean Air amongst its primary users.
Boeing 747 - The largest commercial jet until 2007
The Boeing 747 is a four-engine, long-range jet airliner aircraft, first introduced in 1970. The aircraft was developed to meet the needs arising from increasing passenger demand and reduced fares, and offered a bigger and better airliner, thus revolutionising commercial travel. Development of the Boeing 747 was enhanced by advanced engine technology at that time, with the philosophy being to create an entirely new plane, in three configurations - passenger, all-cargo and convertible. The aircraft was the first to utilise both the twin-aisle configuration and high bypass turbofan engines, with Boeing 747's large hump over the front fuselage making it distinguishable from other airliners. The launch customer was Pan Am, who had a significant say in the development and subsequent design of the Boeing 747, and operated the inaugural flight from New York to London in January 1970. Until the launch of the Airbus A380 in 2007, Boeing 747 remained the largest capacity commercial jet in use, with the company producing over 1,400 747's, including an entire family of variants.
Boeing 747 - Family of 747 variants in service
After the original Boeing 747-100 was launched, the company expanded the family with a range of enhanced aircraft, beginning with the 747-200 in 1971, developed with more powerful engines and higher take-off weight. Subsequent designs featured Boeing 747-300, developed in 1980, with a longer upper deck and an additional flight crew rest area, and the Boeing 747-400, launched in 1985, boasting increased range and better fuel efficiency. In 2005, Boeing announced its 747-8, the world's longest airliner, designed to be quieter, cheaper and more energy-efficient than ever before.