Boeing 747 flies into aviation history in US this week

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NEW YORK The Boeing 747, the original jumbo jet that was the favourite of American presidents and key to affordable mass market air travel in the US, will pass into aviation history this week.

Nearly 50 years after the its debut, the 747 will take its final commercial flight with an American carrier tomorrow on Delta Air Lines' Seoul-to-Detroit route.

It "made flying available for everyone," Boeing's chief company historian Michael Lombardi said of the iconic jet.

"The 747 gave wings to the world."

Aerospace consultant Michel Merluzeau said the plane changed travel. "All of a sudden, you could go from Singapore to London in less than 24 hours."

Delta's send-off for the storied aircraft includes special flights on Wednesday for employees and top customers.

Ticket prices for these "farewell tour" flights have soared owing to demand from nostalgic consumers.

The 747 will still be in the skies for Lufthansa, British Airways and Korean Air Lines.

And Boeing will still build the jet as a freight carrier and for a few clients, including the US president, who has used a specially-outfitted 747 as Air Force One since 1990. - AFP