People Express 747 airplane model. The hugely significant 747 revolutionized airline transport. Far bigger than anything before it, the 747 slashed operating costs per seat and thus cut the cost of long haul international airline travel.
Boeing conceived the 747 in the mid 1960s following its failure to secure a US Air Force contract for an ultra large strategic transport (which resulted in the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy), when it identified a market for a high capacity 'jumbo jet'. Boeing was able to draw upon design experience with the USAF transport and launched the new airliner on July 25 1966. First flight occurred on February 9 1969, certification was awarded on December 30 that year.