Boeing's 747-400, a Faded Queen of the Skies

Once the globe’s hot plane, the 747-400 has been hit by fuel prices
With prices for used 747-400s at record lows, some are being stripped for parts Photograph by Tony Rodgers

Back in the late ’80s, global airlines scrambled to place orders for Boeing’s 747-400 widebody, then the industry’s most coveted aircraft for its sheer size, high-tech cockpit, and creature comforts. Now, ten-year-old passenger 747-400s are worth a record-low $36 million, about 10 percent less than similarly aged planes last year, according to London-based aviation consultancy Ascend, as carriers seek more fuel-efficient models. There’s even little interest in converting the passenger jets into air freighters because of a slump in air cargo demand.

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