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 EVERETT, Wash., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Boeing Commercial Airplane Group:
 It started as a stopgap, an airliner that would fill a temporary need until the next generation of airplanes came along. When the first 747 rolled out of the Boeing Everett factory 25 years ago, few predicted that more than a few hundred of the giant jetliners would be sold.
 On Sept. 10, the 747 will join an elite group of civil airliners as the 1,000th airplane emerges from the huge factory. Only four other aircraft -- the Boeing 707, 727 and 737 and the McDonnell Douglas DC9/MD80 series of twinjets -- have achieved the same level of commercial success. Possibly the most recognizable airplane in the world, the 747 has continuously evolved since its introduction. Along the way, it revolutionized air travel, set new standards of technology and passenger comfort, and became one of America's leading export products.
 Adjusted for inflation, Boeing has sold $148.1 billion worth of 747s, since the first airplane was delivered to Pan Am in late 1969. Sales to airlines outside of the United States have totaled nearly $115 billion, with nearly 95 percent of all 747 sales in the past four years to customers overseas. The milestone airplane will be delivered to Singapore Airlines next month.
 The 747 also plays a vital role in supporting the world's aviation industry. Last year alone, the 747 program provided an estimated 80,000 full-time jobs: 32,800 at Boeing, 36,800 at other U.S. manufacturing companies and 10,400 at suppliers around the globe.
 At its inception, few thought the 747 would have such a fortunate future. The Supersonic Transport was on the horizon and industry "experts" believed the era of the passenger jumbo jet would last a few years at best. When the SST arrived, Pan Am wanted to be able to convert the giant airplane to a freighter. So Boeing hedged its bets, and designed the 747 to be both a passenger and a cargo jet.
 "We thought 200 of the first 400 airplanes would be freighters," says Malcolm Stamper, retired Boeing vice chairman who was responsible for production of the first 747. "During that span, we built only 27 freighters."
 Despite the nay-sayers, the giant jetliner was championed by Juan Trippe, chairman of Pan Am. Sounding more like a street-corner fortune teller than a cautious businessman, Trippe boldly predicted the 747 would precipitate the fall of the Iron Curtain.
 Shortly after launching the 747 program with an order for 25 airplanes, Trippe said in a speech: "There can be no atom bomb potentially more powerful than the air tourist, charged with curiosity, enthusiasm and good will, who can roam the four corners of the world, meeting in friendship and understanding the people of other nations and races. The tourist plane, the bomber, and now the missile, have been racing each other to a fateful finish. In my opinion, the huge 747 can help win this race... The 747 will be a great new weapon for peace."
 Given recent changes in world politics, what seemed like hyperbole in 1966 now appears to be prophecy.
 "When I heard him call it 'a weapon for peace,' it made me sit straight up in my chair," Stamper remembers. "When you look at all the changes in the world, you can't say that the 747 was completely responsible. But there's no doubt that the 747 has been a great catalyst for change. Once millions of people started traveling back and forth and trading with each other, they could no longer think of each other as enemies."
 John Borger, retired Pan Am vice president and chief engineer who helped configure the original 747, is less philosophical about the airplane. "Our objective was to get a 30 percent reduction in transoceanic operating costs. The 747 did that," he says. "It enhanced Pan Am's leadership role in international aviation."
 When the airplane was launched, it was estimated that less than a third of the U.S. population -- and 2 percent of the world's population had ever flown. Pan Am expected the 747 would change that and so far, the 747 fleet has carried more than 1.4 billion passengers - or the equivalent of one out of every four people now living on Earth.
 The only Pan Am prediction that didn't come to pass was a belief that the 747 would be in service for only 20 years. Airlines have been operating the 747 for 23 years, and the 747s being delivered today will be flying well into the next century.
 "There's no reason to believe we won't be building some version of the 747 into the next century," says Phil Condit, president of The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA). "When the last 747 retires, it's quite possible that the model will have been in service 60 years or more."
 The airplane's longevity can be attributed to its flexible design, says Joe Sutter, chief engineer of the original 747 program and now a retired Boeing executive vice president.
 "If you look at the 747, it is not just one airplane. It's a passenger airplane. It's a freighter. It's a long-range airplane and it's a short-range airplane," he says, noting that 15 major derivatives have been produced. "The fuselage offers a lot of flexibility to meet different customers' needs."
 Sutter points out that the airplane was thoroughly redesigned with the introduction of the 747-400 series four years ago. Besides making major aerodynamic improvements and adding up-turned winglets, designers incorporated new avionics, a digital flight deck and the latest passenger-entertainment systems in the airplane. The result is the best- selling member of the 747 family.
 "The 747-400 has already proven that the 747 can absorb new technology," he says, noting that Boeing is studying ways to increase the range and capacity of the 747 to meet future needs of the airlines. "You'll see other
major improvements to the 747 in the future." While

Boeing generally receives most of the accolades for the jumbo jet, Sutter points out that "our suppliers deserve a lot of credit for the success of the program." More than 1,100 manufacturers supply millions of parts for each airplane, producing everything from wires to windshields.
 "The 747 has changed the world by opening the international skies to billions of passengers," says Kent Kresa, chairman, chief executive officer and president of the Northrop Corp., which has produced the fuselage for all 1,000 airplanes. "As a principal subcontractor, we share Boeing's dedication to quality and customer satisfaction. The resulting teamwork has provided jobs for thousands of Northrop employees and many other suppliers across the country and overseas."
 While the 747 made its mark as a civilian jetliner, it also has seen active duty. Eleven airplanes were specifically designed to transport presidents and kings, and several others have been built for the air forces of the United States and other countries. Two planes operated by NASA fly the space shuttle from its landing strip in California to its launch pad in Florida.
 When the recent Persian Gulf conflict broke out, 747s were pressed into service as part of Operation Desert Storm. The 747 fleet flew 3,700 missions, carrying 644,000 troops and 220,000 tons of equipment on trips to and from the Middle East as part of the United Nation's effort to restore peace to the region. The jumbo jet played a similar role during the U.N. mission in Somalia.
 "One of the biggest impacts of the 747 is in the area of air cargo," says Dean Thornton, president of the Boeing Commercial Airplane Group. "It's not only changed the way people fly, the 747 has made air cargo affordable by drastically lowering the cost per ton mile."
 More than a quarter of the entire 747 fleet is devoted primarily to carrying cargo. Currently, 107 Boeing 747s are configured as freighter airplanes. Of those, 52 are former passenger airplanes converted into freighters. Another 130 "Combi" airplanes are capable of carrying both cargo and passengers on the main deck. Combined, the 747 represents 42 percent of the world's air freighter fleet capability.
 Looking back on the airplane's history, Malcolm Stamper says, "It's exceeded our fondest expectations. It's something that America has built that we can all be proud of. It has brought people closer together, it has shown people how the other half lives. It will continue to do that well into the next century."
 -0- 9/2/93
 /CONTACT: Boeing Public Relations, 206-342-4771/

CO: Boeing Commercial Airplane Group ST: Washington IN: AIR SU:

AL -- SE006 -- 8400 09/02/93 12:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 2, 1993

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