Press Review by Kambalagadde Adithya SHET & Ambre PRIGENT, Feb. 6-12, 2023

Written by Ms. Ambre Prigent

Last Boeing 747 delivered

A swan song for a bygone aviation era?

F or more than half a century, tens of thousands of dedicated Boeing
employees have designed and built this magnificent airplane that has truly
changed the world,” stated Kim Smith, Boeing’s vice president as Boeing
announced the end of the production of the Boeing 747 in July 2020.
After 55 years of production for more than a hundred customers, Boeing delivered its 1574th and last 747-8 Cargo aircraft to the American cargo company Atlas Air Worldwide on 31 January of 2023 during a farewell ceremony in Everett, near Seattle, at the factory where the project was born in 1966. This is an opportunity for us to look back at the history of the aircraft that created the notion of the ‘Jumbo Jet’ and revolutionized the intercontinental travel by making the world “substantially smaller” (Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa CEO).

As a symbol of modernity, consumer society and globalisation, but also of mass tourism in a broader sense, the Boeing 747 contributed to making air travel accessible to the middle classes through its unprecedented carrying capacity and wide flying range. Ticket prices became more affordable as long as carriers could carry more passengers onto one flight. In addition,
cities around the world became more and more interconnected by direct flights.
Developed in record time (only 28 months) through an agreement between the CEO of Boeing (William “Bill” Allen) and the CEO of PanAm (Juan Trippe), the Boeing 747’s ambition was to be the world’s largest
passenger plane to meet the growing demand for air travel through
democratisation. The Boeing 747 was the first aircraft in the world to have two aisles in its cabin, carrying at least 440 passengers over a range of more than 10,000 kilometres (and up to 14,000 kilometres for the 747-
400ER version)!
Popular with pilots for its reliability, and with passengers for its easily
recognisable aesthetics, the development of this aircraft mobilised 50,000 employees, nicknamed “The Incredibles”, and used the engine concept developed for an aborted military programme (the C-5A): the advanced high-bypass engine technology.

The objective of the Boeing 747 production was to make it a multi-purpose aircraft: both “a good freighter as well as a good passenger plane” according to its designer, Joe Sutter, thus influencing the size of its fuselage by imposing the wide-body fuselage concept. Its original dimensions reach 68.5 metres in length, with a floor located in its emblematic hump where airlines create luxurious lounges for first-class passengers, giving a cruise ship feel.

The first 747-100 took to the skies on 9 February 1969 and was presented at the Paris Air Show, before making its first commercial flight in January 1970 on a flight from New York to London operated by Pan Am.

Three versions were successively developed: a passenger version, a cargo
version, and a combi version. The 747 and its various versions were also modified and prepared for various missions such as: to carry NASA’s space
shuttles, to become the presidential aircraft in the form of Air Force One (at the request of George Bush in 1990) or to become DreamLifters designed to transport Boeing 787 parts between the various Boeing sites across the United States.

Despite its undeniable aeronautical heritage, the 747 is no longer really adapted to the current era as it is too fuel-intensive with its four engines and with hundreds of seats that are sometimes difficult for airlines to fill. Indeed, airlines are now tending to turn to smaller, less fuel-intensive aircraft.
Despite the new generation and the adoptionr of more efficient engines in 2005, the 747 programme is gradually losing orders after the arrival of its direct competitor, the A380, in 2003 and the financial crisis of 2008, in a
general context where twin-engine widebody aircraft offer similar performance but at reduced costs, particularly in terms of maintenance and fuel efficiency. The advent of low-cost airlines has also contributed to
this sharp decline in demand for jumbo jets, with a preference for smaller aircraft dedicated to shorter flights. The Boeing 747-8I (I stands for intercontinental) has proved to be a “swan song” for the four-engine
airliner market, with demand particularly declining. Further reinforcing this idea, the COVID crisis finally convinced Boeing to halt production, preferring instead to develop its largest jet, the delayed 777X, which is not expected to arrive on the market until 2025, as certification processes are longer than expected.

Although the post-COVID air traffic recovery may have benefited the A380,
which is being put back into service by some airlines to meet global passenger demand, the giants of the skies are finding it very difficult to compete with the operational and financial flexibility offered by smaller twinengined jets, such as the Airbus 350 or the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
However, more than 400 B747 are still in service worldwide, the majority in
their freighter version (only 44 passenger versions are still in service according to Cirium figures and some of them are progressively being renovated into freighters). The many possibilities offered by the 747’s design, such as its nose-loading capability, the elevated position of the
second floor of the cockpit allowing the carriage of large-volume items and industrial parts of up to 130 tonnes, have indeed made it a very popular freighter with operators since its first operation in this configuration by UPS in 2005. Lufthansa remains the largest operator of the B747-8 in its passenger configuration with 19 aircraft, which it will continue to operate for years to come, as its CEO confirmed at the farewell ceremony in Everett. For your information, the Everett plant which was purpose-built for the B747 is described as the largest one in the world by volume. The gap left by the 747 is likely to be filled by an additional assembly line for the 737 MAX, turning Boeing into a new chapter after its setbacks with the development of that aircraft.
The last of the aircraft to be produced (registered as N863GT) joins the fleet of 56 other B747s at Atlas Air and pays tribute to the father of the 747 programme, Joe Sutter, through a painting on the airframe, close to the nose.

To mark the occasion, the crew followed a special flight plan to draw a crown to honour the “Queen of Skies”, known as one of Boeing’s best-selling products, and finally close a chapter in civil aviation history.

The latter livery is expected to operate until the 2050s. In addition, two
Boeing 747s already built (originally belonging to the Russian airline Transaero, which went bankrupt in 2015) are currently being prepared to become the next US presidential planes.
Although the 747’s career is coming to an end, this iconic aircraft will hopefully continue to inspire spotters and generations of aviation enthusiasts for several more decades…

 Air Journal. (2023). “Le dernier Boeing 747 est parti » :
 BBC. (2023). “Boeing 747: Last plane delivered in regal send-off”:
 CNN Travel. (2023). « Boeing says farewell to ‘Queen of the Skies’ with last 747 delivery”:
 La Tribune. (2023). « Boeing livre son dernier 747, l’avion qui a démocratisé le transport aérien » :
 Les Echos. (2023). «Boeing tourne une page de l’aviation moderne avec la livraison du dernier 747 » :’histoire,d’une%20centaine%20de%20clients.
 Le Journal de l’Aviation. (2023). « Boeing tourne la page du 747 en livrant son tout dernier appareil »:
 Le Parisien. (2023). Youtube video : « Boeing met fin à la production du mythique “Jumbo jet” 747 » :
 NPR. (2023). “Boeing delivers its final 747 jet today, ending a run of more than 50 years”:
 Sam Chui. (2023). Youtube video : “The Last Boeing 747- Final Delivery Flight”:
 (2023). “Boeing to deliver last 747, the plane that democratized flying”:
 Vox News. (2023). “The end of a legend: The last plane of the King of the Air, the Boeing 747 is delivered”:


Written by Mr. Kambalagadde Adithya SHET

AERO INDIA 2023 – ‘The runway to a billion opportunities’

Aero India is a biennial air show and aviation exhibition held in Bengaluru, India at the Yelahanka Air Force Station. It is organized by the Defence Exhibition Organization, Ministry of Defence. The Aero India is the largest air show in Asia. ‘The runway to a billion opportunities’ is the theme of 2023 Aero India airshow.
Since 1996, Bengaluru has successfully hosted 13 versions of the famous aerospace exhibition Aero India. Participants in the event will include world leaders, significant aerospace investors, and think tanks from all around the world.
The platform, with the theme “The runway to a billion opportunities”,
is expected to lay the foundation of a more robust interaction between the industry partners and government with an eye on bolstering the “Make in India” campaign, a Ministry statement said.
It is further expected to increase the ‘Ease of doing business’ in India and provide a favorable platform to OEMs for manufacturing in India.
This would engage industries for co-development and co-production to make India a commercial manufacturing hub and base for global product support. It will explore Indian and Global markets; create opportunities for industries to not just ‘Make in India’, but ‘Make in India’ for the world.

In this edition of the Aero show, a total of 807 exhibitors participated from across the world. The Round Table will see participation from officials, delegates, and global CEOs from 26 countries including global investors such as Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed, Israel Aerospace Industries, General Atomics, Liebherr Group, Raytheon Technologies, Safran, and General
Authority of Military Industries (GAMI). Domestic PSUs like Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), BEML, and MishraDhatu Nigam Ltd will also participate. Premier defence and aerospace manufacturing companies from India such as Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge, Dynamatic Technologies, and BrahMos
Aerospace also likely to be part of the event.

As part of Aero India 2023 beginning on February 13 at the Air Force Station Yelahanka, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will display a unique ‘Aatmanirbhar Formation’ flight of 15 helicopters consisting of all variants of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), ‘Prachand’ Light Combat Helicopter, and Light Utility Helicopter (LUH). The fixed wing front will witness LCA twin seater variant, Hawk-i, Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) and Hindustan Turbo Trainer (HTT)-40 aircraft.

HAL will showcase its full spectrum training capabilities and display for the first time, the scale model of Hindustan Lead in Fighter Trainer (HLFT)-42. HLFT-42 is the ‘Next Gen Supersonic Trainer’ that will play a critical role in modern combat aircraft training with stateof-the-art avionics like Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA), Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite, Infrared Search and Track (IRST) with Fly by Wire control (FBW) system. HAL will showcase its range of products / technologies centred on the theme ‘Innovate. Collaborate. Lead’.

The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has planned a showcase of indigenous defence technologies and systems during the 14th Aero India. The DRDO will display a wide range of indigenously developed products and technologies other than numerous exhibits, flight displays and seminars, including the display of recent advancements made by the DRDO under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
According to the officials from the DRDO, the pavilion will showcase over 330 products categorized into 12 zones namely Combat Aircraft & UAVs, Missiles & Strategic Systems, Engine & Propulsion Systems, Airborne Surveillance Systems, Sensors Electronic Warfare & Communication Systems, Parachute & Drop Systems, Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning & Cyber Systems, Materials, Land Systems & Munitions, Life Support Services, and Industry & Academia Outreach.
“The key highlights will be the display of its flagship platforms and systems such as AMCA, LCA Tejas Mk2, TEDBF, ARCHER, TAPAS UAV, Abhyas, Autonomous Stealth Wing Flying Test Bed from the Combat Aircraft and UAVs zone”.

European aerospace giant Airbus will host a public meet-and-greet event aimed at recruiting engineering and IT talent at ‘Aero India’, which is slated to be held in Bengaluru.
“The new hires will be instrumental in supporting Airbus’ industrial ramp-up, its ambitious decarbonization roadmap and preparations for the future of aviation,” the global aerospace firm said in a statement.
The stand will display scale models of the new-generation tanker A330 MRTT as well as the C295 military aircraft that the company will build under its ‘Make in India’ programmer with its industrial partner, the Tata Advanced Systems Ltd, in Gujarat. Scale models of the VSR700 from the UAS category, H225M from the military category, and the H160 from the civil helicopter range will also be on the show along with the commercial aircraft model of the A350.
At Aero India 2023, Boeing will focus on investments in growing local services and capabilities, workforce development and partnerships to support India’s Make in India vision.
A key strategic goal for Boeing in India is to strengthen and leverage local talent and its growing network of more than 300 supplier partners, said the aerospace company.
“The Indian aerospace and defence industry is poised for growth and offers significant opportunities for Boeing with our proven portfolio of products and services. Boeing is committed to supporting and enabling this progress with a vision to bring the best of Boeing to India and take the best of India to the world,” said Salil Gupte, president, Boeing.
The exhibit will also feature advanced products, including the F/A-18 Super Hornet, P-8I, CH-47 Chinook, 737, 787 Dreamliner and 777X. Visitors will be able to experience the AH-64 Apache simulator and learn more about the combat helicopter’s capabilities and a wide range of missions.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.