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Boeing cuts 747 output due to weakened demand

Keywords: Tags  aerospace, Boeing, 747-8, 777, 787 Dreamliner, Eric Lindblad, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Boeing Co. will reduce the monthly build rate of its 747-8 program at its Everett, Wash., facility to 1.5 planes from 1.75 planes through 2015 due to lower market demand for large passenger and freight aircraft, the company said.

“This production adjustment better aligns us with near-term demand while stabilizing our production flow” and positions the program for an eventual market recovery, Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of the 747 program, said in a statement.

Chicago-based Boeing has booked 107 orders for the twin-aisle passenger and cargo versions of the 747-8 and has delivered 56.

The four-engine 747 is the world’s first wide-body airliner, entering service in 1970. But newer, twin-engine wide bodies that are reported to use less fuel have gained popularity. These include two Boeing twin-aisle aircraft: the 777, whose rate this year was increased to 8.3 planes per month, or 100 per year; and the 787 Dreamliner, which reached a rate of seven per month earlier this year and is slated to achieve 10 per month by the end of 2013 or early next year.

Boeing expects growth in the air cargo market to begin to return in 2014, and forecasts global demand for 760 large airplanes such as the 747-8 over the next 20 years, which it values at $280 billion.

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