There's a nearly new Boeing 747 in an Arizona airplane boneyard. Here's why

By Lauren Gilger, Richard Copeland
Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2023 - 1:00pm
Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2023 - 7:45am

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The first Boeing 747 rolled off the assembly line in 1969, the world’s first jumbo jet. 

Its massive, two-story fuselage was instantly recognizable and its 6,000+ mile range redefined the term jet-set.  The 747 model has been used as Air Force One since 1990. The plane costs more than $400 million new.

So it was surprising to industry insiders when, last month, a virtually new Boeing 747-8 was sent to the Pinal Airpark boneyard in Marana to be scrapped for parts. The plane had less than 50 flight hours on it, and it was fully functional.

Riley Pickett, a journalist covering commercial aviation for Simple Flying, broke this story. Pickett says the plane was special ordered by a leasing company for the services of the Saudi royal family.

“The Saudis would have needed enough to continue to pay their lease on it ... but operating an aircraft — especially a jumbo jet — it’s extremely expensive," said  Pickett. "So if they don’t have the money for it, they’re not going to fly it. Or they may not have the money directly allocated for it. It doesn’t mean they do not have the money, but it is not their priority."

So why scrap it? It’s multimillion dollar plane that’s barely been flown. Why not just sell it?

Pickett talked to The Show about why.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to an editing error, the headline been modified to correct the location of the 747.

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