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Final Part Orders Placed For Boeing’s 747 Jumbo Jets As Company Ends The Program: Reports

Final Part Orders Placed For Boeing’s 747 Jumbo Jets As Company Ends The Program: Reports
It was about a year ago that both the United States based aircraft making giant Boeing Co as well its suppliers had set the final number of parts that would be needed for the last lot of the 747 jumbo jet program of the plane maker.
This was a very strong signal about the imminent end of the production of the plane that had arguably democratized global air travel in the 1970s. The coveted aircraft had however fallen behind after the emergence of the modern twin-engine aircraft, according to industry sources.
In February 2019, the 50-year flying anniversary of the plane, referred to as Boeing’s “Queen of the Skies” and one that was most easily recognized jetliner of the world with its humped fuselage and four engines, was celebrated. At that time however the plane was clinging on to its life because of a boom in the cargo market because of tremendous growth of online shopping all across the world.
However conversations and debates of the ultimate end of the 747 Jumbo Jet program of Boeing were present in the industry for years primarily because of a significant drop in orders and pricing pressure. And with the novel coronavirus pandemic crushing demand for air travel, the demand for new jets has also tanked.
The US government directing Boeing to repurpose two 747-8 jetliners for use as Air Force One by the US president was the last order for the planes that the plane maker had received back in 2017.
Despite the news of end to production of 747 Jumbo Jets being around in the media since last week, there has been no confirmation of the same from the company.
“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.
In a similar end to another iconic plane, the A380 jumbo jet program is also being terminated by the European plane maker and Boeing rival, Airbus. The last set of the very large parts of the plane for the world’s largest airliner were shipped to an assembly plant of Airbus in southwest France in June.
Charges and layoffs for halting production at the mammoth wide-body plant outside Seattle could also be the outcome of the death of the 747 program. This decision by Boeing could also have a financial impact on newer programs such as the 787 Dreamliner as well as on the latest model of 777. This is because with the end of the 747 program, a larger share of the plant’s huge overhead will have to be borne by these types of newer programs. 
According to reports quoting one of the suppliers, there is still no clarity among suppliers about when Boeing had made a formal decision to discontinue production of 747 Jumbo Jets.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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