End nears for iconic Boeing 747 as cargo market slows

25th Jan 2016
End nears for iconic Boeing 747 as cargo market slows

Boeing has said it will lower the production rate on the 747-8 program to match supply with near-term demand in the cargo market.

To account for the market and production impacts, the company will recognise a $569 million after-tax charge when it announces financial results for the fourth quarter of 2015.

“Global air passenger traffic growth and airplane demand remain strong, but the air cargo market recovery that began in late 2013 has stalled in recent months and slowed demand for the 747-8 Freighter,” said Ray Conner, Boeing vice chairman.

“While we remain confident in the 747-8’s unique value-proposition and an upcoming replacement cycle for late-model 747-400 Freighters, we’re taking the prudent step to further align production with current market requirements.”

In September 2016, the 747-8 program’s production will decline from one airplane per month to 0.5 per month.


The company previously announced that the rate would drop from 1.3 per month to one per month in March 2016.

On a pre-tax basis at the segment level, Boeing Commercial Airplanes will report a charge of $885 million.

“We are closely monitoring the air cargo market as we work to win additional orders to support on-going future production.

“At the same time, we continue to aggressively drive productivity to lower costs across our production system to offset the current market challenges,” said Greg Smith, executive vice president of business development and strategy and chief financial officer.

The most recent air transport industry data show that air freight contracted in November, with volumes declining by 1.2 per cent compared to the same time a year ago.

This contrasts with global passenger demand which grew at 5.9 per cent, above the ten-year average rate, according to the International Air Transport Association.


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