Boeing rethinks 747-8

BOEING is to reassess the value of its 747-8 programme. Chief executive, Jim McNerney, said that its continuation is not definite: “We still see a viable business proposition here. Obviously, if we ever got to a point where we didn’t, we would have to work with our customers to come up with another answer.”

Boeing has 106 orders for the 747-8F but only 28 for the 747-8I. Deliveries have been moved back to the third quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2011 respectively. The 747-8 has suffered extensive delays and problems mainly because of engineers and resources being reassigned to the 787 Dreamliner programme.

“We have applied a judgement that says we have a very competitive airplane here that has already got a good start on orders,” says McNerney. “If we didn’t believe the revenues would outweigh the costs we wouldn’t go forward with it.”

With relatively low sales of the passenger version, one option is to make the 747-8 a standalone freighter but if cargo demand continues to fall further it may end up being scrapped completely.

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