While Boeing intends to reduce the production rate of its 747-8 and Airbus envisages the same for their A380, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask whether the future of large aircraft is guaranteed.
To adapt to the decline in global demand, the American manufacturer will confine itself to produce eighteen 747-8’s per year until 2015 being three units less than that which was set by the them last April.
As for now, the 747-8 has been ordered at 107 units by eleven client companies and more than half (56) having already been delivered. To avoid a complete stop at its assembly line, Boeing therefore prefers slowing down until the market for very large aircraft picks up again.
In the first ten months of this year, the US manufacturer has in fact only sold five 747-8’s. Because they find themselves in a similar situation, Airbus has, on their side, not yet made a decision about a possible change in the production rate of its A380, but does not exclude it. Since the beginning of the year, they have received no firm orders for their super jumbo. The European aircraft manufacturer, which now has a total of 259 A380’s ordered, has delivered 111. At a rate of 30 units per year, Airbus has, in theory, five years ahead; but only in theory, as explained by aeronautical management consultancy specialist Kurt Salmon.
Philip Monk, manager Aerospace/Defense : watch the interview in the video.
Boeing and Airbus however should not be forced to slow down for too long. According to their forecasts, the global demand for large aircraft over the next twenty years should be of more 1,700 units for Airbus and nearly 800 for Boeing.