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Not gone yet: the 747 will be flying for decades to come

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The final Boeing 747 rolled out of the assembly building in Everett, Washington this week, capping a 54 year production run for the iconic Queen of the Skies. The final 747, line number 1574, will be delivered to Atlas Air in early 2023. While the 747 is no longer in production, it is still busy flying passengers and cargo around the world.

Where can you find the 747?

A Cathay Pacific Cargo 747 departing Anchorage

93% of all 747 flights in November 2022 were dedicated cargo flights, while just 5.9% of 747 flights carried passengers. No city embodies the cargo 747 more than Anchorage. Because of its perfect location as a stopover between Asia and North America, Anchorage sees nearly double the amount of 747 traffic than the next highest city. In November 2022, there were 4,101 747 take offs and landings at Anchorage, all of them cargo flights. For sheer numbers, one cannot beat Anchorage for 747 plane spotting. 21 separate airlines operated 747 flights through Anchorage during November, with Atlas Air in the lead by far with 847 flights. Rounding out the top 5 airlines were UPS (762), Cathay Pacific Cargo (600), Kalitta Air (496), and China Airlines Cargo (351).

Other good choices for 747 plane spotting are Seoul, with 2,684 flights in November, Hong Kong (2,518), Frankfurt (1,274), and Chicago (1,152).

What if I want to fly onboard a 747?

Lufthansa 747-8I in retro livery

In the past month, six airlines operated passenger 747 flights, but flying on a few of them are out of reach for most people. For most people around the world, the easiest way to fly on a 747 is by booking a ticket on a Lufthansa or Korean Air flight.

Lufthansa operates the greatest number of 747 flights per day at 26. The airline offers daily service from Frankfurt to 10 cities: Bengaluru, Chicago, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Miami, Mexico City, New York, São Paulo, Tokyo, and Washington. Korean Air offers daily service to Atlanta and Honolulu, as well as frequent service to Tokyo-Narita.

It’s also possible to travel on passenger 747s operated by Air China, Asiana Airlines, and Mahan Air. The most difficult 747 seats to book are those on Atlas Air’s passenger 747s as you’ll need to charter the entire aircraft.

The 747 will be around for a long time

747s are known for their longevity, with multiple operators still flying 747-200s produced in the 1980s. Given its utility, especially with a nose-loading cargo door, the 747-8F is likely to remain in service for many decades to come. Seeing a 747 depart Anchorage in 2050 would not be a surprise.

As for passenger aircraft, Lufthansa has committed to its fleet for the foreseeable future, though the airline has indicated it would like to retire the 747-400 as quickly as is practicable.

Tracking the Boeing 747

To follow the all Boeing 747s on Flightradar24, create an aircraft filter for “B74” or select the Boeing 747 family from the pre-populated list in the Flightradar24 app.

If you’re only interested in a specific variant, use the following ICAO aircraft type codes.

    • Boeing 747-200: B742
    • Boeing 747-300: B743
    • Boeing 747-400: B744
    • Boeing 747-8: B748
    • Boeing 747SP: B74S

We have a full tutorial on adding aircraft filters available here.

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