- Boeing has only twelve of its 747 jets left to build
- The end of the ‘Jumbo Jet’ production line
- United States is due to replace its current 747 Presidential flight ‘Air Force One’
- Atlas Air will receive the last 747 off the production line
As of the mid of April, 2021, Boeing has officially one dozen, 747 aircraft left to build.
The 747 production line is winding down.
After the 12 are built, the classic ‘Jumbo Jet’ now in its latest dash 8 configuration has no more orders to fulfill.
The world moved on.
Two engines are preferred to four.
It will mark the end of an era for an aircraft that’s spanned fifty-plus years.
Of the twelve orders, according to Boeing, four Boeing 747-8Fs are going to Atlas Air, seven Boeing 747-8Fs are going to UPS, and a single 747-8 is going to an unidentified customer.
That single unidentified customer is likely to be a VIP Completion.
Air Force One
And let’s not forget that the United States is due to replace its current 747 Presidential flight ‘Air Force One’ comprised of x2 aircraft, with x2, 747-8’s.
However, it has been reputed that those two aircraft will not be new ‘green’ aircraft directly off the production line to the United States Air Force.
Instead, the United States Government is purchasing 747-8i aircraft that were intended for the now-defunct Russian airline, Transaero, according to a Boeing spokesperson.
“We got a really good deal,” former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Bloomberg in an interview.
The jets were reported to be selling at $390 million at the time of the deal, according to DefenseOne – were stored in California awaiting their new owners. They were later flown to Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas according to reports.
The cost of the new Air Force One project came under the media eye, after at the time President Trump tweeted:
“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion”Donald Trump, 2016 tweet.
At the time reported by DefenseOne, the then Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg met with President-elect Trump at Mar-a-Largo in Palm Beach, Florida to discuss potential alternatives to lower the cost of the program with four options.
A $4.2 billion alternative was to purchase two new 747-8i jets but only install the presidential configuration on one and a standard VIP interior on the other while a $3.88 billion option involved only buying one new 747-8i and keeping one of the existing 747s.
Other options to reduce cost included buying two new 747-8i aircraft but eliminating some of the Air Force’s requirements or just installing VIP interiors instead of the presidential configuration demanded by the Air Force.
All proposals were reported as flatly rejected by the service branch.
The new Air Force One aircraft are expected to be in service for around three decades. That timing is in line with when most 747 Jumbo Jets will be retired from passenger airlines and cargo carriers around the world.
It may then be the last 747, and potentially the last 4-engined jet for the U.S. Presidential Flight – not considering how technology can move on with 30-years.
The current Air Force one aircraft, referred to as VC-25A aircraft, are scheduled to be replaced just over three decades from their first flights with Bush in 1990 and 1991.
Last Boeing 747 order placed in January
So, what do we know about the remaining 747 orders in Boeing’s backlog?
The four 747 freighter aircraft are destined for Atlas Air and are orders that were only secured three months ago.
That means they are likely to be the customer that takes the last aircraft off the 747-production line.
How about the unidentified mystery buyer?
According to our knowledge, that aircraft is already built.
It was due to go to Lufthansa, but the Frankfurt-based airline changed its mind.
So instead, Boeing sent the aircraft down to storage in the Mojave Desert.
And then, Boeing sold the aircraft. The reported customer is yet to be identified…
That just leaves us to wish all those connected with the Everett factory fond memories of the Jumbo Jet they designed and manufactured, and to say thank you to the Queen of the skies.
Thank you for reading!
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