Skip to comments.Boeing President: 747 Decision Coming This Summer
Posted on 04/28/2005 8:50:15 PM PDT by Righty_McRight
SEATTLE -- The future of the Boeing 747 jumbo jet will be decided by the end of the summer, The Boeing Co.'s interim president, James A. Bell, says.
On Wednesday, hours after the first flight of the A380, the Airbus plane that eclipses the 747 as the biggest passenger jet, Bell told reporters the 747 will likely remain in production only if customers show interest in a larger, more efficient model.
To keep the 747 going, the Boeing board must approve going ahead with the 747 Advanced, which would carry as many as 450 passengers, about 30 more than the 747-400, the only model of the 747 in production, Bell said.
Bell also said the company must get enough new 747 orders to keep the line operating until production shifts to the new version.
Bell spoke at a news conference at Boeing Field after the aerospace giant announced its first-quarter earnings were down 14 percent.
Boeing has 28 orders for 747s, 20 of them freighters. It is assembling one a month at the company's widebody airplane factory in Everett, but could accelerate production to clear the way for a shutdown by late next year.
In 35 years of 747 production, the company has sold 1,384 of the four-engine jumbos.
For about a year, Boeing officials have been showing prospective customers drawings of the 747 Advanced, designed to fill a niche in the market between the 350-seat Boeing 777 and the 550-seat A380, for which Airbus has reported 154 orders.
The last order for the passenger version of the 747 was in 2002.
Any airline that schedules A380s will have to load them. They will have to do this by flying profitable transoceanic routes fewer times daily or weekly. Passengers want to travel according to their needs not according to an airlines schedule.
Airports that handle the 380s will have to modify their infrstructure to handle the mobs that arrive and depart. I suspect that passengers will select the services they want and the flying whales will run routes like the Concorde. Just a few runs between London and NY and a few from LAX to the Far East. Smaller craft (if you consider a 747 smaller) will fill in the gaps.
Continental and hub/feeder runs have no need whatsoever for anything larger than a 757 or 767 class aircraft. Go to a regional airport and 737/717s still rule.
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