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Boeing Officially Ends 747 Program, While Warning Job Cuts Are Imminent

The iconic Boeing 747 will come to an end in 2022, marking a bad change in one of Boeing’s worst quarters of all time. The Chicago-based manufacturer lost $2.3 billion between April and June 2020, forcing the company to make decisions about both their workforce and future production.

Dark skies could be ahead for Boeing, as the manufacturer faces order cancellations and a lack of new purchase orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The revelations came from the company’s 2020 second quarter financial report, released Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

Deliveries Down By 71 Percent, While Cancellations Mount

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to ramp up across the country, Boeing and other manufacturers were forced to reduce production until they could determine a way to move forward. In the second quarter alone, the reduced productivity and lack of orders forced Boeing into a $2.3 billion net loss, one of the worst in company history.

“We remained focused on the health of our employees and communities while proactively taking action to navigate the unprecedented commercial market impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Boeing president and CEO Dave Calhoun said in a press release. “We’re working closely with our customers, suppliers and global partners to manage the challenges to our industry, bridge to recovery and rebuild to be stronger on the other side.”

The second quarter for Boeing was built around resuming 737 production. The Chicago-based aerospace company noted the 737 program is now focusing on “safety, quality and operational excellence.” The company noted the success of their 737 MAX test flights as a victory this quarter.

But the assembly lines are ramping up slower than expected for the company. Between airlines deferring or delaying orders, combined with over 300 order cancellations for the 737 MAX, the company says they may not get to the goal of producing 31 737s per month until 2022.

Boeing shares their production plans to investors during their second quarter report. Image courtesy: The Boeing Co.

Boeing shares their production plans to investors during their second quarter report. Image courtesy: The Boeing Co.

“We are taking the right action to ensure we’re well positioned for the future by strengthening our culture, improving transparency, rebuilding trust and transforming our business to become a better, more sustainable Boeing,” Calhoun said in the press release. “Air travel has always proven to be resilient – and so has Boeing.”

The “Queen of the Skies” Officially Dead for Boeing, With Job Cuts to Follow

With the economy forcing Boeing to reconsider their production, the end of the line has come for their most iconic aircraft. According to documents obtained by Reuters, Boeing will officially end their 747 production by 2022. In the meantime, the company will continue to produce 0.5 747s per month until all orders are fulfilled.

As the 747 comes to an end, jobs may also be on the line inside the aviation giant. Although the company began laying off 10 percent of their workforce in May 2020, internal documents now suggest that the company could trim even more positions.

“Regretfully, the prolonged impact of COVID-19 causing further reductions in our production rates and lower demand for commercial services means we’ll have to further assess the size of our workforce,” Calhoun said in a note distributed internally, as quoted by CNBC. “This is difficult news, and I know it adds uncertainty during an already challenging time. We will try to limit the impact on our people as much as possible going forward.”

Even amongst the turmoil, Boeing was still able to deliver 20 aircraft to customers during the second quarter, with a backlog of over 4,500 orders at a declared value of $326 billion.

Feature image courtesy: The Boeing Co. 

Travelin Man 069 August 1, 2020

Was able to fly upstairs from SFO to MEL and back several years back on UA. One of the most memorable flights I've ever taken and I'll always cherish that memory.

glob99 July 30, 2020

I've travelled on the 747-200, 747-400, and the 747-Combi.

Jackie_414 July 30, 2020

Ahhh, the parties I have had upstairs or in the nose of a United 747-400. Such great times.