The story of the legendary Boeing 747, which started in 1969, may soon be coming to an end. In a note addressed to Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the American stockmarket’s supervising body, Boeing has declared that it is facing a critical situation with regard to its 747. The past few years have seen a steady decline in the demand for four-engine aircraft. That, together with lower than expected freight traffic growth, means that Boeing isn’t ruling out a radical solution.
United States SEC Form 10-Q: « If we are unable to obtain sufficient orders and/or market, production and other risks cannot be mitigated, we could record additional losses that may be material, and it is reasonably possible that we could decide to end production of the 747. »
Since 2013 and despite a recent facelift, the Boeing 747 has only had 18 orders. There are only 20 aircraft left in production on the Everett assembly line near Seattle (Washington).
Playing for time in the hope of a potential increase in demand, Boeing has decided to lower production by half. From September on, only one aircraft will be produced every two months. The Boeing 747, which has greatly contributed to democratizing air transport, may soon be bowing out.