Earlier today, Boeing released its forecast for the commercial aviation market for the next 20 years. This typically discusses what Boeing sees coming for the industry including demand for certain type of aircraft and the demographics of future customers.
What was noticeably absent from the 2017 version of this forecast was any talk of the 747. They have acknowledged that the 747 platform is being wound down, without any serious orders forthcoming.
For the first time in decades, Boeing is now looking to a future driven only by 2-engine aircraft, primarily the 737, 787 and upcoming 777x platforms. The forecast suggest that the aircraft market over the next 20 years will require over $6 trillion in new aircraft deliveries.
D-ABYT prepares for her first ever flight, a B1 test flight at Paine Field.
Of course this makes all the sense in the world since technology has allowed 2 engines to do the work of 4, and deliver passengers to their destinations in more comfort and safety than ever before. But for the aviation romanticists in the world that have always seen the 747 as the most beautiful aircraft in the sky, such a sobering moment doesn’t pass easily.
In their comments, Boeing stated that they were simply being realists in their projections and see that the era of 4 engine aircraft is drawing to an end. I guess all that’s left is to enjoy the Queen of the Skies for as long we can….
Related: Lufthansa 747-400 Gallery
Lufthansa 747-8i Gallery
This Saturday, October 29, Lufthansa will be broadcasting via Facebook the retirement ceremonies surrounding the last 737 in the fleet.
Her last day of work is scheduled to be on October 29th with a few roundtrip flights from Frankfurt. As of now, she is scheduled to fly to Geneva, Stuttgart and Nuremberg. The final landing of the 737 is scheduled to take place at 7:40p when she returns from Nuremberg (LH153) and the simulcast will capture the moment. Tickets are still available for these final flights.
To tune into the broadcast, please use this link (you will be redirected to Facebook). You can also track events on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag of #ThankYou737.
One of the retired workhorses of the LH Fleet…..
There’s a lot attention being paid to this final 737 due to the fact that Lufthansa was the launch customer for the aircraft nearly 50 years ago and is responsible for the aircraft’s existence.
Lufthansa approached Boeing in the 1960s looking to replace a propeller driven regional fleet with jets so that they can better serve their European destinations. Boeing and Lufthansa announced February 19, 1965 that LH would be the launch customer, and almost exactly 3 years later on February 10, 1968, the first 737 joined the fleet. In all, 155 737 aircraft had been part of the LH fleet at one time or another over the last 48 years.
Had it not been for LH, there’s no guarantee that the 737 would have ever been developed and become one of history’s best selling and most popular aircraft.
Lufthansa gives birth to the 737
Lufthansa’s 737 retirement schedule
Earlier this week, Lufthansa took the final step to retire a long serving member of their fleet when they arranged for the sale of their last 737-300 aircraft. For those of you keeping score at home, they are:
D-ABEC Entered service on July 9, 1991
D-ABED Entered service on July 12, 1991
D-ABEE Entered service on July 18, 1991
D-ABEF Entered service on July 31, 1991
D-ABEH Entered service on August 15, 1991
D-ABEK Entered service on November 21, 1991
D-ABEN Entered service on January 16, 1992
These final 7 have been sold to Automatic LLC, a firm specializing in leasing aircraft. The aircraft will be delivered to Automatic LLC between October and December and will be refit for further sale or leasing.
To see what a Lufthansa 737 looks like along with all the other Lufthansa aircraft, please visit my Lufthansa Gallery on Aero-Shots.com.
H/T: FlyerTalk / Oliver2002
Boeing released their SEC 10-Q filing today and hidden among all the charts and commentary was a suggestion that our beloved 747 aircraft may be coming to the of her reign as Queen of the Skies.
In the excerpt below, Boeing talks about the lack of orders and a slow down in freight demand being the primary reasons that they are considering closing the 747 production line. Also reiterated was a previous announcement that 747 production would slow from 1 a month to .5 month in September, basically meaning that only 6 747s will leave Everett each year until production ceases. They also canceled plans to return to 1 747 produced per month starting in 2019.
From Boeing’s 10-Q Release on July 27, 2016:
747 Program Lower-than-expected demand for large commercial passenger and freighter aircraft and slower-than-expected growth of global freight traffic have continued to drive market uncertainties, pricing pressures and fewer orders than anticipated. As a result, during the second quarter of 2016, we canceled previous plans to return to a production rate of 1.0 aircraft per month beginning in 2019, resulting in a reduction in the program accounting quantity from 1,574 to 1,555 aircraft. This reduction in the program accounting quantity, together with lower anticipated revenues from future sales and higher costs associated with producing fewer airplanes, resulted in a reach-forward loss of $1,188 million in the quarter. The adjusted program accounting quantity includes 32 undelivered aircraft, currently scheduled to be produced through 2019. We previously recognized reach-forward losses of $885 million and $70 million during the second half of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, respectively, related to our prior decision to reduce the production rate to 0.5 per month and anticipating lower estimated revenue from future sales due to ongoing pricing and market pressures. We are currently producing at a rate of 1.0 per month, and expect to reduce the rate to 0.5 per month in September 2016. We continue to have a number of completed aircraft in inventory as well as unsold production positions and we remain focused on obtaining additional orders and implementing cost-reduction efforts. If we are unable to obtain sufficient orders and/or market, production and other risks cannot be mitigated, we could record additional losses that may be material, and it is reasonably possible that we could decide to end production of the 747.
Keep in mind that these kind of disclosures are normal for companies as part of their Safe Harbor disclosures and basic ‘CYA’ strategies so that investors don’t retaliate will lawsuits suggesting they were mislead. But this is the first time that Boeing has had such ‘strong’ language in a 10-Q when it has come to the 747. Trust me, I read 10-Qs as part of what I do in real life, and the Boeing versions are among the ones that are at the top of my list when they are released.
With this kind of writing on the wall, I am of the opinion that the 747 has already been canceled in the minds of Boeing Executives. You don’t put this kind of language out to shareholders if you’re not serious. Today’s announcement is basically the warning shot so that we are not surprised when a future announcement makes it official.
This issue could potentially affect the Air Force order for the 2 or 3 747s that are slated to replace the current aircraft serving as the US President’s transport.
If I could write a fitting end to the 50 year legacy of the 747, I would close the program in dramatic fashion by having the last 747s to leave the production line to be the ones that would serve at the President’s pleasure.
SWISS has signed on the dotted line earlier this morning and has taken delivery of their first 777.
Later this afternoon, ‘HB-JNA’ will depart Paine Field in Washington at 1:35p (local PAE time) and head for Zurich where she’ll be greeted with a bit of fanfare over the next few days. This is the first of 9 777 aircraft that SWISS is set to receive.
For those of you wishing to check in on her flight, you can track it as flight LX7771.
For related posts covering the LX 777s, please click on the following:
SWISS’ 777 Is Back From The Paint Shop.
SWISS’ 777 Is Ready For The Paint Shop.
SWISS’ 777 European ‘Training’ Schedule.
More SWISS 777 Photos.
SWISS’ first 777 will sport this livery.