Due to a significant decrease in demand for the new and improved 747-8 (which let’s be honest was never that high in the first place) in the last few months, Boeing has decided to cut its production of the type to just 6 per year, as opposed to the original target of 12 in the same span of time. In 2015, Boeing was only able to sell two 747-8’s in what was the first sale of the aircraft type in two years. Demand for the 747 has sadly plummeted, especially in the passenger market as airlines now seem to prefer operating twin-engined wide-bodies such as the 777 or A350 on long-haul routes for increased fuel efficiency and flight frequency. The 747-8 is stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s less fuel-efficient compared to the 777, but can’t carry as many passengers as the A380. Therefore, a large majority of 747-8 orders are for the freighter version, which are also on the decline due to the relatively small size of the freight market. In an age where a lot of the glamour in air travel is gone and it’s all about lowering the operating cost per seat, the 747 just doesn’t have an edge anymore. Part of the reason why production of the 747-8 hasn’t completely halted is because it was selected to replace the two aging 747-200’s that are currently serving as Air Force One. The future of the 747 is uncertain. Will sales recover? Will Boeing develop a new 747 variant or scrap the program altogether? As sad as it is, the truth is that once the last 747-400 has retired, the 747 will no longer be the Queen of the Skies.
Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/boeing-747-jumbo-production-cut-2016-1