The queen of the skies - part II

Pan Am introduced the Boeing 747 on the New York JFK-London Heathrow route on January 22nd 1970. It was the very first revenue flight on a widebody aircraft. Pan Am was the first airline to introduce the Boeing 747-100 Series aircraft but a number of airlines around the world followed quickly, those airlines that were among the first to introduce the Jumbo after Pan Am included Trans World Airlines (TWA), Japan Airlines which always had the largest fleet of 747's in the world, American, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), Air France and Lufthansa. American Airlines introduced the Boeing 747 on its highly dense route JFK-LAX, in fact it was the only route where it was profitable for American to operate the 747. Sabena, which also introduced the 747 in 1970 (if not 1970, early in 1971), was interested in a Combi version of the 747-100. Some airlines converted the upper deck into a mini bar so that it would attract more passengers, but that was only in the 1970's. Since then all airlines removed the bars and reinstated additional seats on the upper deck. I believe that only the 747-100 had a mini bar on its upper deck.

The 100 was the first variant to come out. It was quite popular with the airlines, but it didn't have sufficient payload vs range capability so at the request of the world's airlines Boeing improved the 100 by adding extra fuel capacity and making it available with different power plant so that each airline can choose what engine suits their aircraft. The improved 100 was originally designated 100B (B means extra range, the A market means high capacity medium haul network, the B market means high capacity long haul intercontinental network), but it was later on designated 200. The 747-200 was an improved version of the original 100. KLM didn't operate any 747-100 Series but was early in ordering 747-200's as soon as it was availabe in the early 1970's. KLM was interested in the Combi (it means passenger and freight combined configuration) version of the 747-200. Many airlines in the world ordered the 747-200 for their intercontinental network.

Boeing was still in doubt about the future of the company because smaller trijets which Mc Donnell Douglas and Lockheed had just made would generate more profit to the US domestic airlines, so it thought of a shortened 747. And also Pan Am who was working closely with Boeing wanted a 747 capable of flying nonstop from New York to Tokyo and nonstop from Los Angeles to Sydney. It was for the reason I mention above and at the request of Pan Am, that Boeing made a shorted 747 designated 747-SP. The suffix assigned to this new variant was first SB for Short Body but it was later changed to SP for Special Performance, probably for marketing reasons. In 1976 the first 747 SP was introduced to Pan Am which flew the aircraft on many long haul intercontinental routes including NewYork JFK-Tokyo Narita (NRT). My father who used to fly Pan Am a lot flew on the SP many times on this routing. Other international airlines that bought the SP included TWA, Qantas, South African Airways, Iran Air, Syrian Air and Korean Air. Only 45 SP's were built, including 11 that were bought by Pan Am.
What made the SP have a long range was same fuel capacity for a reduced weight. Also the SP could fly up to an altitude of Flight Level 450 (45000ft). If you notice the flaps, the flaps were not tripple slotted, they were single slotted because the reduced weight made the aircraft able to land on short runways, so tripple slotted flaps were not required to slow the aircraft on approach.

In the early 1980's, Boeing introduced a new variant: the 747-300. It was simply a 747-200 with a Stretched Upper Deck (SUD). Swissair was the launch customer for the variant. KLM followed quickly, and a number of airlines including Egypt Air, Japan Airlines, Sabena, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Varig, Qantas and Thai Airways followed as well. That variant wasn't long in production because already in the mid 80's, Boeing was announcing a more efficient new variant capable of longer non stop flights: the 747-400 which I am going to talk about on my next page if you read further. Production of the Classic 747 ended in 1990, the last 300 was delivered to Sabena.
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