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Boeing 747s Are Back From the Dead

Julie Johnsson
Boeing 747s Are Back From the Dead

Booming trade is stoking the need for big, long-range jets to haul time-sensitive goods, from Apple Inc. iPhones made in China to fresh flowers grown in Latin America. Interest in Boeing’s 747-400 freighter family was already rebounding last year, even as Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. hosted nostalgic farewell tours to mark the end of U.S. passenger service on the four-engine behemoth nicknamed the “Queen of the Skies.” With Boeing’s factory-fresh models sold out through 2021, cargo carriers are snapping up jumbo freighters that were built from 1993 to 2009—if they can find them. “It’s tightened up, that’s for sure,” said William Flynn, chief executive officer of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc., the world’s largest operator of jumbo freighters.