Looking back at iconic Boeing 747 liveries | Best of 2020

Possibly, there is no other aircraft that has become such an icon of the aviation industry. There is good reason why the Boeing 747 was named the Queen of the Skies, as the sheer size alone put the quad-engine jet on a throne. After all, the 1970s were not exactly famous for the variety of wide-body jetliners. The 747 had to compete with the shorter and smaller wingspan wide-body aircraft like the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 or the Lockheed L-1011.

And it stood down the test of time, as neither the DC-10, its derivative MD-11, nor the L-1011 had any passenger flights over the past few years, while the Boeing 747 remained in active service.

However, the test of COVID-19 was too much to handle for the Queen. While the freighter version had a heyday during the pandemic transferring vital supplies across the globe, the passenger version hit a very harsh bump in its road. The current crisis forced airlines to take a deep look into their finances and costs had to be cut in order to keep themselves afloat. And a quad-engine aircraft is not a cheap option to run, especially considering the wide variety of wide-bodies equipped with modern engines that are currently available on the market.

Thus, slowly, various Boeing 747 operators began to retire the icon, including the largest operator of its passenger version, British Airways. Take a look back at some of the most iconic liveries that the Boeing 747 wore over more than 50 years of loyal service:

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