Boeing 747 Program Comes To An End - Aerospcworld.com

Photo: Boeing

Boeing will stop production of the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets for good after the manufacturer completes the production of the last 15 aircraft currently on order, Bloomberg reported.


However, the manufacturer hasn’t told employees, but the company is pulling the plug on its legendary 747 jumbo jet, ending a half-century run for the queen.

The last Boeing 747-8 will roll out of the Everett, Washington plant in about two years, ending the more than five-decade production run of the legendary airplane known as the Queen of the Skies.


Photo: Sam Chui

A decision that hasn’t been reported but can be teased out from "subtle wording changes in financial statements," people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Boeing has just 15 unfilled orders to date, all for the B747-8 freighters. United Parcel Service (UPS) has 12 of these.

The Boeing 747 will likely still remain in the skies for decades, as it has become increasingly popular among cargo airlines. Only three airlines, Air China, Korean Air and Lufthansa operate the latest B747-8 passenger models.


Photo: Sam Chui


In a statement, Boeing spokesperson said:

"At a build rate of half an airplane per month, the 747-8 program has more than two years of production ahead of it in order to fulfill our current customer commitments."

"We will continue to make the right decisions to keep the production line healthy and meet customer needs," Boeing added.


Photo: Sam Chui

The decision to end the production of the Boeing 747 comes just 17 months after Airbus announced the production of its flagship Airbus A380. 

Both of these legendary piece of engineering, changed the aviation world with Boeing 747 playing a pivotal role since long. But times change. Now around 91% of 747s and 97% of A380s are parked at airports and facilities around the world.

The Airbus A380 was designed to take over where the 747 left off. But unlike the 747, which was a huge commercial success for Boeing and loved by millions of passengers around the world, the A380 never really got traction.

Photo: Getty


The Airbus A380 production will end after just 18 years in 2021, which began back inn 2003. Whereas, assuming reports, the 747 will have been in production for 54 years, that's three times as long as the A380.

Boeing’s “Queen of the Skies” debuted in 1970, a gamble paid off and transformed travel but almost bankrupted the company. The Boeing 747 went on to rack up 1,571 orders over the decades -- second among wide-body jets only to Boeing’s 777.


Photo: Boeing

Boeing has lost about $40 million for each 747 since 2016, when it slowed production, making just six jets a year, Jefferies analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu estimated.

Boeing has recorded $4.2 billion in accounting charges for the 747-8, which has been kept alive as a freighter. The 747 notched its last order as a passenger jet in 2017 -- for Air Force One.

Boeing’s jumbo freighters will continue to ply the skies for decades after production stops, said aviation analyst Aboulafia. But he’s dropped the passenger-only A380 from his forecasts.


Photo: British Airways


"It’s going to have the shortest lifespan of any type in history," Aboulafia predicted. "I’d be shocked if there’s still an A380 in service in 2030."

A check of flight-tracking site Flightradar24 on Thursday showed that only two 747-8 passenger version were airborne in the world. 

Both of them were both Lufthansa flights, one from Frankfurt to Los Angeles, part of the bare-minimum network currently linking the two sides of the Atlantic and the other a flight home to Germany from Bangkok.


Photo: Getty

The last passenger-carrying 747 in the world may end up being the most prestigious of them all: Air Force One, carrying the president of the United States. 

What are your thoughts about this story? Share your Boeing 747 experience with us in the comments below:

0 Comments