End of an era in sight for Boeing's 747 jumbo jet as it slashes production
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 | Admin
The US aerospace giant said production of the four-engine 747 jet would fall to just six a year from September as demand declined.
Boeing will take a $569m after-tax charge as a result of the slowdown, which follows a previously announced rate cut from 1.3 jets a month scheduled to begin in March.
While demand for passenger aircraft remains strong, the four-engine configuration of the 747 is not as cost effective as twin-engine aircraft.
As a result, 747s are mostly in demand as freighters, but Boeing said air cargo had slowed down recently.
“While we remain confident in the 747-8's unique value proposition and an upcoming replacement cycle for late-model 747-400 Freighters, we're taking the prudent step to further align production with current market requirements,” said Ray Conner, Boeing president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The move is not a surprise to industry analysts, as the cost of making the 747 is outweighing sales, financial filings from Boeing show.
The Seattle-based manufacturer currently has just 20 orders for 747s - which were used by Sir Richard Branson to launch Virgin Airlines (pictured left) - on its books, mostly freight versions.
However two have been ordered as replacements for the US President’s Air Force One jets.
While the news is a blow for the aircraft it does not mean the giant four-engine jet – of which Boeing has produced more than 1,500 – will disappear from the skies just yet.
“This does not mean that Boeing will drop the 747,” said Howard Wheeldon, an independent aviation and defence analyst. “When Boeing introduced it in the late 1960s it was ahead of its time and had a pretty dreadful couple of years, then took off.
Source - Daily Telegraph