Boeing cuts 747-8 production

This is going to be a busy day for Boeing. We’re waiting for word from the FAA to lift the grounding order of the 787 once the Boeing fix is installed and this morning Boeing announced it’s cutting production rates of the 747-8.

EVERETT, Wash., April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Boeing (BA) announced that it will adjust the production rate for the 747-8 program from two airplanes to 1.75 airplanes per month because of lower market demand for large passenger and freighter airplanes.

Boeing will continue to monitor market conditions and their effect on production rates moving forward. The company expects long-term average growth in the air cargo market to resume in 2014, and forecasts a demand for 790 large airplanes (such as the 747-8 Intercontinental) to be delivered worldwide over the next 20 years.

The 747-8 family provides airlines with double-digit improvements in fuel burn, operating costs and emissions, while being 30 percent quieter and adding more capacity. To date, there are 110 orders for passenger and cargo versions of the 747-8, 46 of which have been delivered.

The first delivery of an airplane at the new production rate is expected in early 2014. The production rate change is not expected to have a significant financial impact.

10 Comments on “Boeing cuts 747-8 production

    • Putting out the sun-coloured pencil, I don’t think it’s fair to speak of an end regarding the 747. The spot for the large cargo planes won’t receive any competition from Airbus for quite some time to come and the only options below her are the 777 (a very successful offering though) or the A330 variant, among the planes descending from passenger service to the cargo ops. So, if Boeing is right about a growth after 2014, there should be room for the 747-8F.

      “adjust the production rate for the 747-8 program from two airplanes to 1.75 airplanes per month” isn’t an end.

      I’d be interested in the opinions regarding the passenger variant though. If older 747 variants get replaced by either big twins or an A380, there isn’t much to expect for the 4 engine Dream..Jumbo. How are the odds for a big (passenger) 747-8 deal in the near future?

      • Back around March 13, I heard Air China ordered 2 747-8I’s. About that same time Cathay Pacific ordered 3 747-8F’s. Then, toward the end of March, Silk Way signed an MoU for 4 747-8F’s. Slow, but definitely not the end yet.

  1. Andreas :
    Being relegated to freight duties is also a sad end, in my (passenger) view.


    If it helps, I liked the Lufthansa business setup for the 747-8 a lot more than the one on the A380. Leads me to the point that it would be interesting to read about how those two planes compete over there. The 747-8I service is fairly new though, so it may take a while until there’s some information available.

    • My partner HATED the LH A380 business class, and much prefered the Qantas 744. I’d love to get on the 748i to DC, but flying from London that’s impossible.

      • But that’s all to do with individual airlines’ choice of interiors and service … in theory you could do a fabulous business class in an MD-11, too, very little to do with the aircraft itself.

  2. Well, I estimate there will be about 62 B-747-8s delivered by the end of this year (2013). At the current order book (which does not include the 4 Silk Way on MoU), that leaves just 48 airplanes to be delivered. At 1.75 per month, that is about 27.4 months until the last one is delivered, assuming no new orders and the MoU does not become a firm order. That is around May 2016 for the final delivery.

    I hope by then the USAF will have placed their order for 3 B-747-8Is under the AF-1 contract. The 3 new B-747s will replace the two current VC-25As.

    I hope Boeing can get more orders for the great B-747 before we get to close to closing the line.

  3. Too big to compete with the 773ER and not big enough to compete with an A380, and with the 777-9X coming soon, the 747-8i pretty much a pointless aircraft.
    Virtually unchallenged in the freight field though, so it should do well there

  4. The 748i has one big advantage, slots and if you need a little more seats than the 77w and have a decent cargo load it is a good option. It can haul a good load far, compared to the 744 it is a dream to fly in, very quiet cabin compared to the old engines.

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