As the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted the aviation industry, US airplane manufacturer Boeing has decided to cease the production of its iconic passenger aircraft named ‘Boeing 747’ in 2022.
Often regarded as ‘Queen of the Skies’, the plane can accommodate more than 600 people. It was first introduced around 52 years ago to democratize air travel. However, the popularity of such large plans has declined significantly as airlines moved to smaller planes that offer greater flexibility.
The decision to halt the production of 747 comes on the back of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Boeing is enduring one of the most challenging periods in its history as the pandemic has significantly impacted the demand for new planes.
While the aircraft maker is still carrying out layoffs announced earlier this year, Boeing’s chief executive, Dave Calhoun, warned about further possible lay off of around 10% of its 160,000 employees in the future.
Calhoun said in a memo to all Boeing staff that the prolonged impact of coronavirus causing further reductions in the company’s production rates. He added that a decrease in demand for commercial service has prompted the company to re-evaluate the size of the existing workforce.
In recent quarterly reports, Boeing recorded a USD 2.4 billion loss in the three months to the end of June. Its revenue decreased from 15.8 billion in the same period last year to USD 11.8 in the same period this year.
Calhoun said it would take a minimum of three years for passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels. Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, and British Airways are among the few airlines which have already retired their 747 fleets.
Meanwhile, the aircraft maker is also continuing efforts to return its bestselling 737 Max model to the sky, after it was grounded in 2019 following to fatal crashes.