Boeing 707

Boeing 707

Source: Wikipedia. Photo circa 1964. BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) merged in 1974 with Imperial Airways to form British Airways.

Boeing was among the first aircraft company to build a turbojet civil airliner in 1954. Initially, it was built as a military aircraft (tanker / transport), but commercial versions were soon available. A Pan American Boeing 707 first flew a commercial service on October 26, 1958, between New York and Paris (with a fuel stop in Gander, Newfoundland); a powerful symbol stating that the plane opened fast transcontinental services. Jetliners then rapidly entered service throughout the world. Its introduction represented the single most important speed improvement in commercial air transportation of the previous 35 years, as speeds increased from 350 mph (propeller plane) to 590 mph. From the start, the 707 had accommodation for approximately four times as many passengers as the original British de Havilland Comet 1, as well as a considerably higher maximum speed. This helped establish the 707 as the dominant plane in worldwide jet services.

Production centered around two major series, the 707-120 medium-range versions for up to 181 passengers, and 707-320 long-range versions, able to carry from 189 to more than 200 passengers. The passenger-carrying 707-320B and passenger / cargo 707-320C models were still in production in 1977. By the spring of 1977, total sales of the 707 stood at 920 units, operating in every continent of the world. Production of this airliner came to a stop in 1980, 26 years after its introduction.