Watch: Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 pilots perform farewell 'wing-wave' leaving Manchester

Pilots operating the final flight of Virgin Atlantic's 'Barbarella' Boeing 747 performed a special 'wing-wave' as hundreds turned out to farewell the aircraft as it took off for the final time from Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom.

Vantage points around the runway were packed with some people waiting for hours just to see one of the very last 'The Queen of the Skies', the 747 in flight.

As well as those on the ground, thousands of people were watching the take-off online from around the world via the BigJetTV website, which broadcasts live online from various airports throughout the week.

Virgin Atlantic and its main competitor British Airways both announced the retirement of their 747 fleet earlier this year. The retirement was brought forward by at least a year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four-engine aircraft is simply not sustainable financially or environmentally when up against more economical and cleaner twin-engine aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or the Airbus A350.

For aviation enthusiasts, it was a sad day. Some of those in attendance at the airport were in tears.

In this photo posted on Twitter by JulianGGil, 'Barbarella's' fate is revealed: it will join the hundreds of other aircraft no longer needed by an aviation industry in chaos, and will be dismantled in the desert.