BOEING SEALS FATE OF 747 AS FINAL PART ORDERS ARE MADE
Boeing Co. and suppliers set the final number of parts it would need for the 747 jumbo jet program at least a year ago, signaling the end for a plane that democratized global air travel in the 1970s but fell behind modern twin-engine aircraft, industry sources told Eric M. Johnson of Reuters on Friday.
Boeing’s “Queen of the Skies,” the world’s most easily recognized jetliner with its humped fuselage and four engines, marked its 50-year flying anniversary in February 2019, clinging to life thanks to a cargo market boom fueled by online shopping. But the end for the program has been hanging in the air for years amid falling orders and pricing pressure. The coronavirus pandemic has also crushed passenger travel and demand for new jets.
The last order for a passenger version came in 2017, when the US government asked Boeing to repurpose two 747-8 jetliners for use as Air Force One by the US president.
Boeing declined to confirm that it was pulling the plug on the 747 program, first reported by Bloomberg News on Thursday. “At a build rate of 0.5 airplanes per month, the 747-8 program has more than two years of production ahead of it in order to fulfill our current customer commitments,” a Boeing spokesman said. “We will continue to make the right decisions to keep the production line healthy and meet customer needs,” he added.