End Of The Queen: Boeing Confirms End Of The 747 Program As Losses Hit $2.4Bn

Boeing Confirms End Of The 747 Program. Photo: Sam Chui

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.

During the second-quarter results announcement, Boeing confirmed the end. In an open letter to employees, Boeing's CEO Dave Calhoun advised that no more 747s will be built after 2022.

Calhoun also said that the firm is also looking at job cuts on top of the 10% reduction in staff already announced.

Only 15 Boeing 747-8s are left unfilled. Photo: Boeing

"The reality is the pandemic's impact on the aviation sector continues to be severe," he said.

On July 29, 2020, Boeing announced a loss of $2.3 billion in second quarter this year and a decrease in production rates for several popular models, including the Boeing 787 and the 777.

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

In a letter sent to employees, CEO Calhoun said: 

"While our 767 and 747 rates remain unchanged, in light of the current market dynamics and outlook, we’ll complete production of the iconic 747 in 2022. Our customer commitment does not end at delivery, and we’ll continue to support 747 operations and sustainment well into the future."

"We are taking the right action to ensure we're well positioned for the future," he added.

Only three airlines operate passenger 747-8. Photo: Sam Chui

The manufacturer has not received any new orders for the passenger variant of 747-8. Boeing has only 15 unfilled orders to date, all for the B747-8 freighters. United Parcel Service (UPS) has 12 of these.

However, the Boeing 747 will 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.

Boeing 747 debuted back in 1970. Photo: Boeing

Boeing’s "Queen of the Skies" debuted back 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.

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

Photo: Getty

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

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