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Atlas Air Takes Delivery of Final Boeing 747, Ending Over Half a Century of Production

At a ceremony attended by thousands in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Atlas Air took delivery of the final production Boeing 747, a 747-8 Freighter. The aircraft will be operated on behalf of Apex Logistics, a Kuehne+Nagel company under a long-term agreement.

Boeing and Atlas Air Worldwide joined thousands of people in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 – including current and former employees as well as customers and suppliers – to celebrate the delivery of the final 747 to Atlas Air – Courtesy Boeing

On Tuesday (January 31, 2023), Boeing and Atlas Air Worldwide joined thousands in Everett, Washington celebrating the delivery of the final Boeing 747, ending over half a century of production. This is the last of four new Boeing 747-8 Freighters ordered by Atlas Air in January 2021. The ceremony was attended by current and former Boeing employees, along with customers and suppliers. The aircraft features a custom split livery with the Atlas Air Logo on the right side and tail, and the Apex Logistics logo on the left. A special decal on the right side of the nose honors Joe Sutter, considered the ‘Father of the 747.’ Boeing employees who designed and built the first 747, known as the ‘Incredibles’ also returned to the Everett factory, where the journey began in 1967, to be honored. Over the life of the program, the Everett factory produced 1,574 ‘Queen of the Skies’ 747 jumbo jets.

Speaking at Tuesday’s delivery ceremony, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ President and Chief Executive Officer, Stan Deal, said,

“This monumental day is a testament to the generations of Boeing employees who brought to life the airplane that ‘shrank the world,’ and revolutionized travel and air cargo as the first widebody. It is fitting to deliver this final 747-8 Freighter to the largest operator of the 747, Atlas Air, where the ‘Queen’ will continue to inspire and empower innovation in air cargo.”

Also commenting on the landmark 747 delivery, Atlas Air Worldwide’s President and Chief Executive Officer, John Dietrich, said,

“Our company’s history and success are directly linked to the 747 platform, and we are honored to continue our long history of flying this iconic aircraft for our customers around the world. Atlas Air was founded over 30 years ago with a single 747-200 converted freighter. Since then, we have spanned the globe operating the 747 into well over 800 airports in over 170 countries with nearly every series of the aircraft, including Boeing’s 747 Large Cargo Freighter for the transport of 787 Dreamliner parts.

“We’ve carried everything on the 747 from race cars to racehorses, from rocket parts to satellites, electronics, overnight express shipments – and various forms of perishables like fresh flowers, vegetables and fish. The 747 has also been critical to carrying life-saving goods like medicine, vaccines and personal protective equipment during the pandemic and other times of need. And we are proud to serve the U.S. military as the largest provider of their airlift – carrying both troops and cargo – and the 747 is the backbone of this critical work.

John Dietrich, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air Worldwide, represents Atlas Air’s 5,000 employees at the ceremony Boeing hosted to celebrate production of the final Boeing 747 – Courtesy Boeing

“We are pleased to operate this aircraft on behalf of Apex Logistics, a Kuehne+Nagel company. This is the second 747-8F delivery as part of our long-term strategic partnership with Kuehne+Nagel, which is reflective of our deep commitment to provide additional capacity for the expansion of their air cargo network.

“As the world’s largest operator of 747 freighters, Atlas is especially proud to take the last 747 ever to be built. We are grateful to Boeing for their shared commitment to safety, quality, innovation and the environment, and for their partnership to ensure the continued success of the 747 program as we operate the aircraft for decades to come.”

The first twin-aisle airplane, the Boeing 747 enabled airlines to connect people across vast distances with nonstop trans-oceanic flights, solidifying Boeing’s role as a commercial aviation leader. The iconic airplane has delighted generations of customers and operators, and still does so today. Boeing continued to improve the original model with the 747-400 in 1988 and the final 747-8 model, which was launched in 2005, and the aircraft has delivered unmatched operating economics and efficiency across the passenger and air cargo markets.

Also commenting on the milestone 747-8F delivery, Kuehne+Nagel’s Management Board Member, Yngve Ruud, said,

“The names we chose for the last two iconic aircraft fit their legacy – ‘Inspire.’ and ‘Empower.’ We are looking forward to see the last 747-8F aircraft taking off to fulfill the versatile needs of our customers around the world with unmatched capability.”

Apex Group’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tony Song, added,

“In 2001 when Apex was founded, our guiding principle was to empower employees with the common goal of offering customers flexible and reliable solutions to their logistics needs. Twenty years later, as part of Kuehne+Nagel Group, we are proud to introduce ‘Empower.’, the newest and most exciting addition to Apex Logistics. This aircraft will reinforce our ability to provide strategic solutions and unique alternatives, with passion. Together with our Apex Logistics colleagues, we are delighted to celebrate this very special occasion with Kuehne+Nagel, Atlas Air and Boeing.”

The Final Production Boeing 747, an Atlas Air Boeing 747-8 Freighter on the Apron at Boeing's Factory in Everett, Washington - Courtesy Boeing

Purchase, New York-based Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAWW) is a leading global provider of third-party aircraft and aviation operating services. Company subsidiaries include Atlas Air, Southern Air Holdings and Titan Aviation Holdings. Additionally, the company owns a majority stake in Polar Air Cargo Worldwide. Together, the Atlas Air family of companies operate the world’s largest Boeing 747 Freighter fleet. The company also offers their customers a wide selection of Boeing 747, 777, 767 and 737 aircraft for domestic, regional and international cargo and passenger operations.

Source(s): Boeing/PRNewswire, Atlas Air Worldwide


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