4 Steps in the Life of Boeing's 747

EVERETT, Wash. ( TheStreet) -- Boeing's ( BA) plan to build the 747-8 is the latest step in the long evolution of a historic aircraft.

The 747-8 will seat 400 to 500 passengers. Lufthansa is the launch customer, with the first delivery scheduled for the fourth quarter.

First flown commercially by Pan American World Airways in 1970, the 747 was the first widebody aircraft, and its hump continues to make it one of the world's most recognizable planes. In 2009, Boeing delivered 747 number 1,400.

But sales have been slowing. Since 2009, just seven 747s, all freighters, have been delivered. Four went to Cathay Pacific, one each to Kuwaiti and Japanese cargo carriers, and one to UPS ( UPS).

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