How Many Gallons Of Fuel Does A 747 Hold?

If you are not too sure as to what the Boeing 747 is, it also goes by the nickname ‘Queen of the Skies’ or ‘Jumbo Jet’ and is a wide-body cargo and commercial jet airliner.

A way to distinguish a Boeing 747 airliner is to see if it has a hump on the upper deck. 

How Many Gallons Of Fuel Does A 747 Hold?

The Boeing 747 was first manufactured in the United States and originally had two and a half more capacity than the Boeing 707 which was one of the most popular commercial aircraft in the 1960s.

However, since its first flight in 1970, the Boeing 747 still holds the top spot for passenger capacity. 

How Many Gallons Of Fuel Does A 747 Hold? 

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the Boeing 747 is a big plane. With all of this space, it has the ability to hold about 48,000 to 57,285 gallons of fuel which is equal to 180 to 213 tonnes.

The precise amount is dependent on what kind of model it is though. 

It may sound surprising, but there are actually aircraft that can hold even more fuel than the Boeing 747. One of the most expensive planes ever built called the Airbus has a bigger fuel tank that can hold up to 84,525 gallons. 

Every second, the Boeing 747 burns about one gallon of fuel so over the course of a 10-hour flight, the 747 will burn 36,000 gallons of fuel.

This may sound very inefficient but actually, is much more fuel-efficient than other modes of transportation by a long shot. 

Even just taking off and climbing to reach its cruising altitude will result in the Boeing 747 will burn through 19,000 gallons of fuel which equates to about 10% of their fuel. 

With this in mind, it’s almost mind-boggling to think about how much money is spent on fueling aircraft since they need so much of it.

On average, airlines will spend about 40% of the operating budget on fuel. Having said this, how much the fuel costs will vary as inflation and such fluctuates. 

Where Is Fuel Stored In A Plane?

Not a lot of people know this, but the fuel is often stored in the wings of the aircraft for multiple reasons such as saving costs, but there are a few other reasons too. 

With no need for a tank, wet wings generate considerable cost savings for the manufacturer.

Heavy tanks and bladders need regular maintenance and limit the amount of payload (passengers or cargo) the aircraft can carry.

With less maintenance and more payload, this design was putting dollar signs in the eyes of potential buyers.

Cost Savings

Since the airline does not need a designated fuel tank, it results in cost savings for the manufacturer since big, heavy fuel tanks will need a lot more maintenance.

It also puts a limit on the passenger and cargo capacity that the airline can hold.

Therefore, with the combination of fewer maintenance costs and more space for passengers and cargo, the airline makes more money. 

Weight And Balance 

As you can probably imagine, it is incredibly important that an aircraft has a proper center of gravity so if the fuel is moving around the body, it will make it unbalanced and lead to a whole lot of problems.

Since there is no room in the wings for the fuel to move, the weight of the plane stays distributed evenly.

Spars are also usually built between the sections of the wing to prevent the fuel from sloshing as much as possible, these spars are also designed to have small holes to allow the fuel to pass through slowly. 


Commercial airlines such as the Boeing 747 are designed to carry as much as possible including passengers, luggage, and any other types of cargo.

In most aircraft, the top half is designated for carrying passengers and the lower half is for holding cargo which leaves the wings free for storing fuel. 

Structural Integrity

The wings of an aircraft must have a lot of instructional integrity as they have a lot of stress put on them from generating the lift needed for flying.

The wings face most of the stress when the aircraft is taking off but having fuel stored in the wings prevents them from flexing which sometimes happens when the wings are too light for the plane’s body.

It also helps to keep the overall balance of the plane better distributed. 

How Is A 747 Refueled? 

Since the fuel is stored in the wings, when the aircraft is stationary at the airport, fuel trucks are used to park underneath or next to the wings.

Then, the driver will get out of the truck and use a big hose to connect the wing to the fuel source.

After they have secured the hose, they can begin to pump the kerosene into the wing at a rate of 634 gallons a minute which can take around 20 minutes. 

As passengers are boarding or getting off of the aircraft, the fueling will usually take place and the crew must use devices that are anti-static at all times in order to prevent sparks. 

It is important to mention that the aircraft is only filled up enough so that it can complete one journey so that they are kept as light as possible.

This doesn’t carry any risks though as it would in a car for example because every airport has the capabilities to fuel up the aircraft. 


The nickname ‘Queen of the Skies’ is very fitting for the Boeing 747 because of how much it dominates the skies with its huge passenger and cargo capacity.

This also means that it can hold an impressive amount of fuel with the maximum being 57,285 gallons but 10% of it is already used during take-off, so it makes sense why they have to hold so much. 

It sounds like a lot of fuel, and it is but all of it is still able to be stored within the wings of the aircraft which saves money, keeps it more balanced, leaves room for more passengers and cargo, and prevents the wings from flexing.

Jacob Stern
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