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posted by cmn32480 on Saturday July 30 2016, @05:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the old-tech-phased-out dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Six months after slicing production of the iconic Boeing 747 to just one plane a month, the aerospace company has decided to halve the rate of production and flagged it is close to killing off the plane.

A new Form 10-Q filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission spells out the ugly situation as “Lower-than-expected demand for large commercial passenger and freighter aircraft and slower-than-expected growth of global freight traffic have continued to drive market uncertainties, pricing pressures and fewer orders than anticipated.”

Boeing has therefore “canceled previous plans to return to a production rate of 1.0 aircraft per month beginning in 2019.”

The company still has “32 undelivered aircraft” on its books, some yet to be built. But it also has “a number of completed aircraft in inventory” for which buyers cannot be found.

Production of the 747 will therefore been reduced just six planes a year as of September 2016 and the filing makes it plain that Boeing knows it may soon have a difficult decision to make.

“If we are unable to obtain sufficient orders and/or market, production and other risks cannot be mitigated,” the filing says, “we could record additional losses that may be material, and it is reasonably possible that we could decide to end production of the 747.”

The 747 remains a fine aircraft, but twin-engine planes can now match it for capacity and, crucially, for long flights over areas where airports are scarce.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @05:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @05:49AM (#381889)

    Newer twin jets (777, A380) have similar or larger capacities, comparable ranges, and are more fuel efficient. Wonder what the niche is where 747 quad jet is preferred.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @06:27AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @06:27AM (#381896)

    Well, it does give you a better feeling upon discovering you have lost an engine - if you know there are still three of 'em still running.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by fustakrakich on Saturday July 30 2016, @03:15PM

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Saturday July 30 2016, @03:15PM (#381965) Journal

      Yeah, when an engine quits you just arrive a little later. If they all quit, you'll be stuck up there all day.

      --
      Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
    • (Score: 1) by nethead on Saturday July 30 2016, @06:49PM

      by nethead (4970) <joe@nethead.com> on Saturday July 30 2016, @06:49PM (#382016) Homepage
      --
      How did my SN UID end up over 3 times my /. UID?
    • (Score: 2) by el_oscuro on Sunday July 31 2016, @02:07AM

      by el_oscuro (1711) on Sunday July 31 2016, @02:07AM (#382136)

      My dad was on a 747 out of Paris over the pond. A short time later, they lost an engine and returned to Paris. Now change the scenario slightly:

      The engine goes out in the middle of the flight over the Pacific. The closest landfall is Hawaii, 2,000 miles away.

      747/A380: Still 3 good engines. We'll keep a good eye on them and adjust our course to be reasonably close to Hawaii while continuing to our destination.
      A350/777: Shit! we lost an engine. We are still good, but have no backups. If the 2nd one goes out before our rated 370 minutes is complete, we are screwed.

      --
      SoylentNews is Bacon! [nueskes.com]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @08:11AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @08:11AM (#381910)

    um... A380 is a 4 engine aircraft competing in the market of the B747. I think you meant the A350

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @12:34PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @12:34PM (#381935)

      You are right. Seems what remains of diminishing 747 market is being eaten up by A380.

      • (Score: 2) by Kell on Saturday July 30 2016, @04:46PM

        by Kell (292) on Saturday July 30 2016, @04:46PM (#381986)

        As it is, the A380 is likewise struggling to find buyers - Airbus recently reported that they are likely to make a loss on the type long-term. It appears the age of the superjumbo is at an end, and middling widebody is the new ascendent class.

        --
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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by digitalaudiorock on Saturday July 30 2016, @01:22PM

    by digitalaudiorock (688) on Saturday July 30 2016, @01:22PM (#381947)

    Wonder what the niche is where 747 quad jet is preferred.

    For me it'd probably be when two engines go out.

  • (Score: 1) by toddestan on Saturday July 30 2016, @11:37PM

    by toddestan (4982) on Saturday July 30 2016, @11:37PM (#382102)

    Until recently, the airlines had to use quad-engined planes on some routes, such as South America to Australia where there really is no place to make an emergency landing for a large portion of the flight. The idea being of course that having four engines is better if one or two of them quit on you. Though recently the regulations have been lifted so that some twin-engine airplanes can now be used for those routes, the idea being that the planes are so reliable now that the risk with only two engines is minimal.

    At this point I'm not sure who is buying 747's now, unless they are cargo variants where the 747 still has several advantages, such as the nose-cone door to allow for large cargo, and four engines that allow for heavier cargo. Fun fact: The 747 was designed primarily as a cargo plane, with the passenger variant expected to be relatively short-lived as Boeing expected passenger planes to go supersonic in a few years.