MIAMI — Boeing Co. has announced plans to reduce even more the production of its 747-8 airliner to one unit per month starting March 2016, in an effort to maintain the production line open amid uncertain future demand for the jumbo jet.
Currently, the Boeing 747 is being built at a rate of 1.5 aircraft / month, and the company had already announced plans to slim the rate to 1.3 a month from September in the wake of a weakened cargo market. Boeing has adjusted its 20-year forecast for from 620 aircraft in 2014 to 540 in 2015, a decrease of 13%.
As of May 2015, Boeing has a logbook for 122 747-8, with a total of 90 aircraft delivered. During the 51st Paris Air Show, Russian cargo airline Volga-Dnepr Group committed to buy 20 units, which could help to extend the production line for almost three additional years if we add the 32 aircraft pending for delivery. Earlier this year, the U.S. Air Force announced that it would acquire an unspecified number of 747s to replace the current United States presidential fleet. However no further details have been disclosed so far.
“With recent orders and commitments, along with these changes announced today, we anticipate a stable future for the 747 production system,” Bruce Dickinson, vice president and general manager of the 747 program, said in an internal company report on Wednesday according to Reuters.