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 could be 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 in a crisis.

Pictured: Air France Airbus A380 and British Airways Boeing 747 at Los Angeles International Airport LAX

[ Thiago B Trevisan / Shutterstock.com]

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:

Possibly, without the input of Pan Am's Juan Trippe, the Boeing 747 would not have been what it is today: a true icon of the skies. While Pan Am itself was an iconic airline of the 20th century, unfortunately, it was forced to declare itself insolvent and closed its doors in December 1991.

[ Piergiuliano Chesi / CC BY]

All Nippon Airways (ANA) revealed their Pokemon liveries after the pokemon-related craze in the late 1990s. This particular livery, seen on an ANA Boeing 747-400 (registered JA8956), was unveiled in December 2004. Unfortunately, the aircraft was scrapped in 2013, after it was stored in Tupelo Airport (TUP) in the United States, after serving with the Japanese airline for over 20 years.

[ Alexander Gatsenko / Shutterstock.com]

Part of Qantas' Flying Art series to promote the art of indigenous people of Australia, Wunala Dreaming was introduced in 2003 on the airline's Boeing 747-400 (registered VH-OEJ). The aircraft was unfortunately repainted in 2012, and now, the Australian carrier retired the aircraft from its fleet permanently.

[ Qantas]

To celebrate its 100th anniversary, British Airways introduced several retro liveries on its aircraft, including two Boeing 747s. Paying homage to BA's predecessors, one Queen was painted in British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), while two other 747s in the Negus and Landor livery.


[ British Airways]

Pictured: British Airways Negus livery, used between 1974 and 1984.

[ Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock.com]

Pictured: British Airways Boeing 747-400 (G-BNLY) painted in the Landor scheme, used throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

[ British Airways]

Ed Force One was the nickname of this particular Boeing 747, used by Iron Maiden throughout 2016. Previously with Air France, the Jumbo was acquired by Air Atlanta Icelandic, an ACMI and charter company and leased out to the band throughout its 2016 tour around the world.

In August 2016, after Iron Maiden ended its tour, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) leased the aircraft from Air Atlanta Icelandic and it was repainted to represent Saudia.

[ Grindstone Media Group / Shutterstock.com]

While the status of the livery being iconic could be questioned, there is no denying that it is definitely unique. Rossiya Airlines introduced the livery in 2016, with the goal to "draw public attention to issues of preservation of endangered wildlife species," according to the airline. On the nose of the Boeing 747-400 is the Amur Tiger, a tiger that lives in Russia's far east.

[ vaalaa / Shutterstock.com]