Boeing 747 May Get 86’d in the Years to ComeBy: Bennett Rieser - October 24, 2013
The Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet has been hailed as a double-decker revolution in air travel that shrank the globe by the Associated Press, yet even Arsenio Hall seems able to offer one as a (seemingly unattainable) prize on his new show.
Despite that glowing remark from the AP, Boeing has had to cut its 747 production line two times in the last six months, and the flying corporate giant will only end up producing 36 of the iconic planes in the next two years.
That weak performance does not dampen Boeing’s commitment to the 747; it plans to try to sell the jets to Asia like it sold its only five 747’s this year, but most Asia-based airlines are looking for cheaper, two-engine planes that will make the same trip for less fuel.
Even Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson joined them in their preference when he said at a press conference, “Now jet engines are amazing, amazing machines and you only need two of them.”
A Boeing 747 can seat between 380 and 560 people depending on how a particular airline company chooses to arrange its layout, but it’s considered cumbersome because of its four engines. A full 747 really brought in the bacon, but a plane that fails to fill every seat has to spread a $200,000 jet fuel cost across the passengers they still have.
The jumbo size is too big for most markets, it seems. The AP wrote that no airline could financially justify regional jumbo jet flights between Paris, France and Atlanta, GA, for example, and that business passengers prefer multiple flights for the sake of flexibility, making it more feasible for airlines to run small planes instead of the 747.
The Boeing 747 was, upon its construction, a six-story engineering marvel that could safely carry several hundred people 6,000 miles. The model became particularly famous for piggybacking NASA’s space shuttles around as well as the POTUS in the form of Air Force One.[Image via a National Geographic YouTube video]