When the plane manufacturer Boeing announced Tuesday that it had delivered the final 747 jet it would ever build, the news also shone a spotlight on the logistics company that now operates that iconic plane, the Swiss transport provider Kuehne+Nagel’s Apex Logistics division.
After its first flight in 1967, the 747 earned a reputation with passengers as the world’s first jumbo jet, thanks to its powerful engines, twin aisle seating layout, and unique second deck. It’s even the base model for the U.S. President’s personal plane, Air Force One.
But the airplane also found popularity with air freight operators—such as Atlas Air, the Purchase, New York-based company that owns the last 747 and leases it to Apex. Stripped of its passenger seats, the 747’s cargo version gained a reputation for strong payload capacity, long range, and nose-loading capability.
In fact, Atlas itself was founded over 30 years ago with a single 747-200 converted freighter, according to John Dietrich, Atlas’ president and CEO. The firm has since flown various models of the design into more than 800 airports in 170 countries. “We’ve carried everything on the 747 from race cars to racehorses, from rocket parts to satellites, electronics, overnight express shipments – and various forms of perishables like fresh flowers, vegetables and fish,” Dietrich said in a release. “The 747 has also been critical to carrying life-saving goods like medicine, vaccines and personal protective equipment during the pandemic and other times of need. And we are proud to serve the U.S. military as the largest provider of their airlift – carrying both troops and cargo – and the 747 is the backbone of this critical work.”
Kuehne+Nagel said it would name the plane “Empower” and operate it on Transpacific routings, strengthening the intra-Asia network with better connectivity, reliable service, reduced transit times, and increased efficiencies. As the final unit in a line of 1,574 aircraft, Empower is a 747-8 model, which features dimensions of 63 feet high, 250 feet long, and 224 feet of wingspan. That size allows it haul either 410 passengers or 303,000 pounds of freight payload, Boeing said.
Time to #empower! @ApexLogistics_1 International, a Kuehne+Nagel company, will put into operation the last Boeing 747-8 freighter as part of the long-term charter agreement with @AtlasAirWW : https://t.co/OuJsweyem5 #airlogistics #airfreight #logistics— Kuehne+Nagel (@Kuehne_Nagel) February 1, 2023
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