By Mark Evans
Boeing 747 Legacy Carried On Through Tourist Attractions
More than 50 Years after the first Boeing 747 rolled off the assembly line in 1968, the iconic jet is still being produced at Boeing’s factory in Everett, WA. But not for much longer. Production will end in 2022 and it looks like the last one will be line number 1570 for UPS.
Boeing’s flagship aircraft has seen dwindling customer demand for more than a decade now, especially after the introduction of the Airbus A380 in 2005, followed by more fuel efficient long-range aircraft like the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350.
Boeing’s latest variant, the Boeing 747-8 failed to have a great impact on customers with the majority being sold to cargo airlines. Line number 1570 will make it just 153 aircraft delivered over a 10 year period.
It is currently estimated that there are less than 450 jumbo jets in active service with only a handful operating passenger services. Many have been saved for preservation in museums. The most notable being the very first B747 off the production line. N7470 was preserved at Boeing’s own Museum of Flight at Seattle’s King County International Airport, otherwise known as Boeing Field. However, three of them have found a more adventurous lifestyle in retirement.
After its first flight in 1981, the aircraft spent the majority of its life with Malaysian Airlines. Its last few years were spent with Air Atlanta Icelandic before being stored at Fujairah, United Arab Emirates during 2013. Following several years of inactivity, the aircraft was purchased by the small neighboring island nation of Bahrain.
The Middle Eastern country sunk the B747 off its coast in 2019 so it could be used as a dive site. In an attempt to boost tourism they launched the world’s largest underwater theme park named ‘Dive Bahrain’ with the Jumbo as the main attraction. It’s the first aircraft to be used as an artificial reef and will be accompanied by other attractions in the park which covers an area of 100,000 square meters.
The aircraft first flew in 1989 and spent its whole life, based at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport operating for KLM. It was withdrawn from service in 2018 and 30 years after first arriving in the Netherlands it found its resting place just across the road in the backyard of Corendon Village Hotel.
The aircraft however has not been converted into a hotel itself. It has been painted in full Corendon colors and the hotel offers tours of the aircraft. This winter it will also be possible to Ice skate around the Jumbo as the hotel plans to open an ice skating rink underneath it.
Located inside the hotel on the 9th floor is the Skybar 747 and roof terrace. From here there are panoramic views of Schiphol airport making it an ideal location for plane spotters to watch the movements with the former KLM aircraft in the foreground.
Rolling of the production line in 1976 this B747 saw stints with Singapore Airlines, Pan Am, Nationair, Tower Air and Transjet Airways. Finally coming to rest at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport in 2002 after being impounded.
It was purchased in 2006 and refurbished. It was opened in 2009 and is now known as the Jumbo Stay Hotel. It’s located next to a busy Taxiway at Arlanda offering panoramic views over the airfield. Various rooms are on offer ranging from dormitories to a double bed ensuite in the cockpit.
The hotel also offers a café and bar which is open to visitors, meaning everyone is welcome to enjoy the view. They have a small observation deck on the left wing where you can sit and watch the action at the airport.