The Boeing 747's run as a passenger carrier for major US airlines has come to an end.
Retired planes are usually sent for storage before being sold, brought back into service, or scrapped for parts.
A picture posted on Twitter shows one Delta's 747-400s being scrapped.
And there's no better reminder of this than a photo posted on Twitter by Royal S King showing the skeletal remains of a Delta Air Lines 747 as it is being scrapped at an airplane junkyard in Marana, Arizona.
It's a jarring visual that shows the fate that befalls most of these majestic beasts.
In 2017, both Delta and United Airlines hosted farewell tours for their venerable jumbo jets with United's fleet entering retirement a few before Delta's.
— Royal S King ☀️📷🛩 (@royalscottking) March 20, 2018
Shortly thereafter, the planes are sent to salvage yards for storage. The warm arid climate of these desert facilities minimize corrosion and keep the planes in acceptable condition should the airline find a buyer or need to aircraft to re-enter service. However, few people these days are in the market for 20-year jumbo jets, so Delta and United's planes will likely be scrapped.
Its expensive engines, electronics, and other salvageable parts will be sold off for parts. The remaining aluminum airframe will be cut up and sold as scrap metal.
The demise of the Boeing 747 as a mainstay of international air travel has been a long time coming. Over the past 10 years, Boeing has sold an average of just eight 747s per year with the vast majority of those being freighters.
United AirlinesOver the past 25 years, regulations limiting the use of twin-engined jets on international long-haul flights have become significantly less strict. As a result, airlines have replaced the larger, less efficient three or four-engined jets that dominated air travel during the 1970s and 80s with smaller twinjets. Aircraft like the Boeing 777 and the 787 Dreamliner or the Airbus A330 and A350 have taken the jumbo jets place as the workhorse for international airlines.
As a result, it's the end of the road for a plane we call the Queen of the Skies.