The Chart:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 is Finished

Deliveries: 19
Net Orders : 0

Not an auspicious year for the 747.

There's talk of Silk Way ordering three new 747-8Fs. But there's also talk of Transaero not taking up their four orders because Russia's economy is in the crapper. None of this is official according to Boeing yet, but that's the general direction things seem to be taking now: two steps forward, three steps back.

2013, however, was a good year for the 747. So hopefully we'll get a rebound this year and have lots of good things to talk about for 2015. Things I'd like to see:

  • Asiana take up their orders
  • China Airlines buy into the 748
  • Air China top up of 3+ frames
  • Lufthansa top up of 5+ frames, as well as line 1435 being delivered to them
  • BBJ customer deliveries... get those things flying!
  • Turkish Airlines order for 10 or more
  • Korean Air entry into service
  • Line 1437 entry into service

Anymore on your list? Post them in the comments, and in the meanwhile, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Air China Delivery #4

Line 1510 RC069 B-2479 just flew off for Air China. This is their fourth frame, and early next year they're scheduled to start international service to New York City with them.

It's looking like 19 deliveries for 2014.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Boeing Makes 1500th 747 Delivery

Not really noticed by many is that with the delivery of line 1487 RC527 JA17KZ to Nippon Cargo Airlines, Boeing has made the 1500th delivery of a 747 into service. Note, this is not the 1500th 747 built, but the 1500th delivered to a customer. How do I figure?

  • Last 747-400 was line 1419.
  • Line 1 never delivered, but every other frame up to 1419 did, so that make 1418 deliveries.
  • Line 1487 is the 82nd 747-8 delivered.
  • 1418 + 82 = 1500, Quod Erat Demonstrandum

So congratulations are due. Congratulations!

JA17KZ will sit around KPAE in short term storage before she flies off to Tokyo in January. You might remember that line 1479 RC525 JA15KZ did the same thing at the end of last year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Some Not So Good News

Gimme the bad news first doc:

1.) Boeing is slowing down the 747-8 production rate from 1.5 frames a month to 1.3 frames a month. Or in other words, 18 frames a year to 15.5 frames a year. This stretches out the current backlog to about two years, but it's clearly not a good sign for demand. And even though that means the last currently ordered frame would be built in about two years (early 2017), the reality is that things are even more pressing for Boeing suppliers. They have to manufacture parts for 747s a substantial amount of time before a plane is completed, so the supplier backlog may run out in as soon as a year.

The 747 production line heading forward can probably be slowed down to about one frame a month, or twelve a year. This gives Boeing probably two more opportunities in the future to announce slowdowns before they would have to realistically address shutting down the line. With slowdowns like these, they can probably stretch the backlog out through 2017.

The other alternative is that Boeing needs to sell 15 frames a year to keep things chugging a long. Last year, they did pretty well, selling 12 net (17 gross) airframes. This year has been dire though, with a big fat zero net sales (two gross). After the Asiana cancellation, I'm losing confidence that they'll be able to sell any substantial amount of frames moving forward. There are still potential sales out there, but the longer things drag on with silence, the closer we get to the 778F, the less likely they seem to happen.

2.) Asiana NTU's were confirmed by Boeing. That'll be a total of four white tails, plus line 1437, which may or may not already have a customer.