Boeing’s is now focusing on the non-airliner 747-8 variants as the decline in demand for very large airliners means an end for the passenger version.

The US manufacturer has delivered 36 of its 747-8I airliner variant to three customers – Air China (seven), Lufthansa (19) and Korean Air (10) since the first in 2012. However it has not received any incremental orders since 2016 and the last on backlog was delivered to Korean Air last year.

“The fact is that we’re not nearly seeing the kind of demand that we expected 10 years ago for four-engined airplanes in the very large segment,” says Randy Tinseth, marketing vice-president at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“Of course that means we aren’t making passenger [747] airplanes any more. We’re just focusing on VIP operation and on freighters. We think the main passenger airplane [in the large sector] is going to be the 777-9.”

The turn-around in fortunes in the cargo sector is helping push up demand for freighters. Boeing recently announced an important order for 14 more 747-8Fs from UPS. This deal raises the 747-8F backlog to 24, which is enough to fill all available production slots over the next four years at the current rate of six a year.

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Source: Cirium Dashboard