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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: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @06:29AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30 2016, @06:29AM (#381897)

    When I was a child, the 747 debuted. First year, legend has it, Boeing had one order for the new plane, dubbed "the Aluminum Overcast". This in spite of the pilot taking the new plane through a barrel roll over Boeing Field in Renton, Washington, on the inaugural flight . Boeing engaged in massive layoffs. Huge numbers of persons, including my own family, fled from Seattle, and legend has it that there was a sign downtown that said, "Last one out, turn out the lights! So, it does make me sad to see the old bird go. Forced my family to move elsewhere, so I do not have to pay Seattle rents now a days.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by mendax on Saturday July 30 2016, @07:02AM

    by mendax (2840) on Saturday July 30 2016, @07:02AM (#381904)

    I think the barrel roll you spoke of was with the the 707 prototype over Lake Washington in 1955. Video of the feat here [] To my knowledge no one has intentionally done a barrel roll in a 747, although it certainly is capable of doing it.

    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by deadstick on Saturday July 30 2016, @02:34PM

    by deadstick (5110) on Saturday July 30 2016, @02:34PM (#381960)

    A bit of conflation going on here. The barrel roll incident was on the public demo flight of the 707 in 1955; the 747 entered production in 1969; and the "last person out" story came during the downturn of 1971. The sobriquet "Aluminum Overcast" has been attached to any number of large aircraft over the years; today it's most closely associated with a B-17 that tours the country selling $500 rides.

    Fun fact: It's widely believed that the name 707 refers to the cosine of the wing sweep angle, but that's wrong: the angle is actually 35 degrees, not 45.