back to article Boeing confirms it will finish building 747s in 2022, when last freighter flies off the production line

Boeing has announced it will stop making 747s, probably in the year 2022. The aerospace company today posted $16.9bn of revenue for Q2, down 26 percent year on year thanks to a certain virus and the ongoing 737MAX mess. Commercial airplane shipments fell to 50, down from the 149 that flew away in 2019’s corresponding quarter …

  1. tip pc Silver badge

    Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

    Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max. I’ll be checking if the airline has Max’s and will fly an alternate if I have to. I think easy jet is airbus only, Ryan air had a huge order for Max’s. BA’s owners indicated intent to buy Max’s but has none.

    I flew tui to menorca the other year, fulfilled by Norwegian in what I think was a Max, comfy for a small commercial jet but I’ll be making sure I know the airframe before booking.

    I don’t mind the non Max 737’s.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/boeing-737-max-plane-crash-ethiopian-airlines-lion-air-ryanair-faa-a9261701.html

    1. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

      I suspect once the 737 Max goes back into service MCAS will be the safest system on the plain it'll have had so much scrutiny. However I wonder what other systems Boeing has cut costs on in that aircraft that haven't been checked out so I wouldn't be happy flying in one either. Not that I'm a fan of the 737 in general , its cramped and showing its airframe design age.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

        Only pushing the certification rules to its limits brought about the 737 problem, the Max is virtually a new aircraft.

        Both 737 and 747 were 1960s engineering that formed the platform for continued update and improvement for decades and outlasted their Lockheed and McDonnell-Douglas rivals. In the 1960s engineers at Boeing were able to come up with such robust designs that were solidly businesslike and pragmatic and out and out market leaders.

        You might say that 787 is of the same ilk, but it is so dependent on tech that it somehow feels like a more delicate bird. I do think that modern engineers could learn from that 1960s approach.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

          "I do think that modern engineers could learn from that 1960s approach."

          IANAE, but I think the 1960s was great for mechanical engineering, but it will only get you so far. None of the designs of that era is good enough for new expectations of efficiency and noise levels. For that you need a merging of mechanical and electronics engineering, so we are in a <1940s era, where we are yet to perfect this approach.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

            I'm not talking about pure turbojets and hydraulic actuators. When I said that I was talking about those aircraft as a platform for continued development, which is what they became over the decades. Of course only a stretched version of the airframe confguration survives and the latest versions off the line have totally different specs in everything from avionics to engines, but it remains that nothing from their contemporary rivals survives.

            It is the foresight of those 60s engineers to design such a platform that might be learned from.

            1. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

              The B777 engineering team will take slight with your comment... That platform is truly remarkable.

            2. boltar Silver badge

              Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

              I don't quite understand this thinking that just because something is old and has survived it means its particularly good. The 737 was good for its time - its not good now and the only reason its still around is Boeings accountants decided it was much cheaper to continue flogging this tired horse. The short landing gear is something that cannot be changed and that means engine choices and mountings are restricted which is how we ended up with MCAS in the first place. Also they cant widen the cabin without redesigning the entire airframe. The 737 should have been binned years ago and a whole new airframe designed.

              1. bazza Silver badge

                Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

                Absolutely.

                It's been pointed out that, had Boeing done a new aircraft instead of the 737MAX, it would have been flying well before now and cost less to develop than Boeing spent on handling the MAX crashes crisis.

                Goes to show that accountants are incurably penny pinching, pound foolish, and should on no account be allowed to influence company decisions.

              2. Updraft102 Silver badge

                Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

                Not Boeing's accountants... the accountants in question were those of the airlines. It costs money to certify pilots for a new plane, but if the new aircraft has the same type certification as the old one, all they need is a cheap "differences" training thing and they're off to go. That's why the Max had MCAS... it was supposed to handle like the 737 NG, but it didn't, and rather than have it be its own entity with its own handling characteristics, they tried to simulate the old plane. Evidently, it did not work, and the decision to use one sensor was just insane.

                Reportedly, Boeing did want to design a new replacement for the 737 that would implement the newest technology (like a smaller 787), but the airlines wanted a better seven-three. Then Airbus refreshed the A320, giving it a competitive advantage over the 737 NG, and the die was cast.

                1. boltar Silver badge

                  Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

                  If Boeing built a new plane the airlines wouldn't have a choice so thats a non argument. They'd have had to recertify for the new plane or for airbus but recertify they would. Airlines should decide the interior decor and what dresses the trolley dollies wear and leave the rest to the manufacturer.

          2. bazza Silver badge

            Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

            IANAE, but I think the 1960s was great for mechanical engineering, but it will only get you so far. None of the designs of that era is good enough for new expectations of efficiency and noise levels. For that you need a merging of mechanical and electronics engineering, so we are in a <1940s era, where we are yet to perfect this approach.

            There were a lot of clever things done in mechanical engineering then. For example, the manufacture of Concorde relied on CNC machining, developed for the purpose. That was in parallel to Lockheed Martin doing the same thing for the machining of titanium structural parts for the SR71.

            But to be honest I think that, fantastic steps though they were in the 1960s, nothing compares to what's happened in the 2010s, 2000s. We now have the ability to machine huge parts (e.g. A380 wing spars) to very tight tolerances, and indeed those spars themselves were impossible without the British development of friction stir welding (now proudly touted by the likes of SpaceX, Boeing in their rocket construction). The quality and performance of the materials can also be extremely high today, allowing designers to really lean on their properties in their designs. We have to acknowledge that 3D printing (in metals, at any rate) is making big inroads into mechanical design. And with CAD being so immensely more capable than it was even 20 years ago, a mechanical design can be interrated a huge number of times without anyone ever so much as glancing at a sheet of metal.

            But for all the sophistication of modern mechanical engineering, somehow it doesn't feel quite so heroic. Ah well, that's progress I guess.

        2. Dunstan Vavasour

          Grandfather Rights

          "Both 737 and 747 were 1960s engineering that formed the platform for continued update and improvement for decades and outlasted their Lockheed and McDonnell-Douglas rivals. In the 1960s engineers at Boeing were able to come up with such robust designs that were solidly businesslike and pragmatic and out and out market leaders."

          I think it's far more that, despite there being not a single common component with the original aircraft, they still have grandfather rights for certification. From top to bottom, these aircraft types have design choices that wouldn't be permissible were they being certified from scratch: for example, the passengers in the nose of a 747 have only one escape route, backwards. Other types such as the A320, have grandfather rights too, but they don't go back to the 1960s.

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Grandfather Rights

            "the passengers in the nose of a 747 have only one escape route, backwards."

            CASS: Where are we going?

            DOCTOR: Back of the ship.

            CASS: Why?

            DOCTOR: Because the front crashes first. Think it though. Oh!

          2. bigmacbear

            Re: Grandfather Rights

            "I think it's far more that, despite there being not a single common component with the original aircraft, they still have grandfather rights for certification."

            Does that make these the Aircraft of Theseus?

        3. bazza Silver badge

          Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

          Only pushing the certification rules to its limits brought about the 737 problem, the Max is virtually a new aircraft.

          The 737MAX is not a new aircraft in any meaningful way. It is an old aircraft with added bodges to allow it to carry modern engines and modern avionics. In terms of structural strength, primary controls, and cabin dimensions it is unchanged since the 1960s.

          One of the major criticisms is that that the fuselage, unchanged since the 1960s, has inferior crash survivability compared to today's standards. For example, if you take a look at some A320 crashes recently, e.g. Sully's river landing and the Russian one that had twin engine out shortly after take off, they both stayed pretty much intact to the considerable benefit of all on board. A 737 is far more likely to break apart, to the detriment of all on board.

          The primary controls are unaltered since the 1960s, except the trim wheels got shrunk. Fundamentally it's a levers and wires control system that still relies on pilots moving them, and the safety case up until the MAX was based on the design of this and not on the electronics that have been added. This has allowed Boeing to implement all that electronics without the triplicate redundancy that is standard these days, because it plays no part in the "safety" of the aircraft. This was fine right up until MCAS, which they wired in permanently and the FAA was mislead as to what authority it had over the levers / wires.

          The shape of the aircraft is also largely unaltered. There's been a few trimmings - winglets, etc. but it's otherwise unaltered. The cabin compares very unfavourably wrt to more modern designs, with the A320 and A220 having faster turn around times simply because passengers can get on / off more easily.

          Both 737 and 747 were 1960s engineering that formed the platform for continued update and improvement for decades

          Not as much as you'd think. The 737 in particular hasn't really changed at all, bar engines.

          The problem those legacy platforms have had is that their certification was based on old technology - levers and wires controls. Airbus with their fly-by-wire tech introduced at the end of the 1980s has meant that they can make really quite substantial design changes - e.g. the A320neo, A330neo - but truly keep the flying of the aircraft the same.

          They've also been helped a lot in that the delta between the design standards of the 1990s and today aren't so great as between the 1960s and today. So they've not fallen so far behind what's current so as to stretch the bounds of credibility. Just look at that other 1990s hit, the 777; BA had one of those land very short and very hard, it stayed in one piece and everyone got away with it more or less (1 broken leg?). Apparently it wasn't clear that, despite the damage, the airframe was a write-off. It's unlikely that anything from the 1960s would have stayed intact so well.

          Airbus knew what they were doing with the A320; they designed it to be lengthed and given MTOW increases; that's why it's got such tall undercarriage for its size. Boeing haven't been able to do this so successfully with the 737 because in the 1960s it had to have short undercarriage so that it could carry its own steps around with it (a lot of regional US airports at the time were little more than a runway and shed). For Boeing, fixing that would inevitably mean a whole new airframe, something they've steadfastly refused to embrace.

          1. Pu02

            Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

            One of the other major criticisms was the way in which the electronic avionics, and the software logic in particular, was 'engineered' (e.g. designed, integrated, tested, checked, produced, verified/approved/authorised). Apparently a lot was done by the various suppliers, to a cost, using different methodologies, tools and other aspects that make it hard to manage during the lifecycle of the Max and an spouse/sibling versions, and the tech it spawned into Boeing that might be reused on other models.

            Clearly ownership of the implemented logic remains a problem, as they continue to demonstrate the challenge they have been having handling blame, both inside and outside the company.

            1. bazza Silver badge

              Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

              Yes, and that’s some that was allowed to happen because it was thought, wrongly, that the aircraft’s fundamental safety case rested solely with the 1960s hydraulic/electrical/mechanical flight controls. Turned out that was wrong.

              The blame thing is interesting. I’ve read elsewhere that the programmers working in the company that Boeing contracted to write the software for MCAS were concerned about the design they were being told to implement. So much so that apparently the company reported the concerns back to Boeing asking, “are you sure this is what you want?”. To which Boeing replied yes, get on with it.

              That’s probably the most valuable email chain in history.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

            I don’t know why people are trying to argue against points I didn’t make. Of course these aircraft are long in the tooth now, and don’t compare well to more modern designs. But their longevity is unquestionable.

            To emphasise what I was actually trying to say, I will ask: how many L1011 and how many DC-10 do you see in airports these days.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sad to see the queen of the sky’s go but won’t be flying in a 737 Max

              I’m not sure you get it.

  2. Badbob

    I’ll miss her but...

    ... I hadn’t really appreciated just how loud it is inside and on both top and bottom decks of a 747-400 until I flew on my first (maybe last) A380 last year.

    Outbound to LAX on the Queen, I hardly shut my eyes and arrived with a throbbing headache (which an hours evening peak drive on the 405 didn’t help). Homeward bound on the pretender to the throne, I slept like a log and woke up as we approached Blighty genuinely refreshed.

    The 747 carried a lot of poise and looked sleek from the outside but inside was showing its age, however the A380 looks fat and ungainly outside but has one of the best cabin experiences.

    My last flight on a 747 was only a result of the airline changing from the originally booked 787. Little did I know it would be my actual last flight on one.

    Farewell big girl. You’ve served the world well. Enjoy your rest.

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: I’ll miss her but...

      This was the primary selling point of the A380 - less noise, more fuel economy, more people per plane in more passenger comfort. The A350 is the evolution from there.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: I’ll miss her but...

        It already was the selling point for the A340, just slightly less people per plane. On the other hand, a B767 is also surprisingly quiet when landing on vapor.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I’ll miss her but...

        I always try to fly A380 when I go back to the UK. Usually Emirates, but also Qatar, Etihad and Qantas.

        I have some open tickets with Emirates as we were supposed to fly back in May on an A380 before it all turned to crap. Hopefully we will be able to go in the not too distant future and will still be able to fly on the A380. The B777 is tolerable, but on my last flight one leg was on a B787. Really unimpressed with it. Shame that the A380 has ended production. Hope that Emirates can keep them in the air even if other airlines get rid of them. Not much choice for them really, since they make up half of their fleet.

        The first time I ever flew on the A380, I was sat in Darwin airport waiting for the connecting flight to Singapore when the news about QF 32 was splashed across the TV screen in the bar. A few years later we flew on a Qantas A380 after Nancy-Bird Walton had been repaired and returned to service. I got some looks when I asked my wife as we boarded "I wonder if this is the airplane that had the exploding engine".

        1. hoola Bronze badge

          Re: I’ll miss her but...

          Exactly, I do not fly much but I was surprised when I did my first long haul that also happened to be a 747 as to how noisy it was. Then a year later a similar trip on a 787 and it was significantly quieter. What really brought it how was my most recent trip that was 747 outbound then A380 back. As you say, the overall experience in terms of the state you arrive in the destination was huge.

          The 747 was a game changer but the overall market needs to evolve quickly due to Covid19. Older platforms that rely on high passenger numbers to be economic are going to be at risk. Overall flying costs are probably going to have to increase as the passenger density is reduced. Quite how that is going to impact the budget sector will be interesting as there still appears to be a view from many that cheap flights and holidays, particularly to Europe are a right and necessity, not a luxury. Cheap air travel has done a lot for accessibility & mobility but many of the negatives have been quietly buried.

          Covid19 is here for many years and I don't think enough people have yet understood that the freedom we had in 2019 is gone for the foreseeable future.

  3. David Pearce

    Older 737s have problems too

    Pre-MAX 737s have a problem after being stored for a while

    Potential twin engine failure

    https://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgad.nsf/0/ec0e5875b315e9e5862585ae007cd448/$FILE/2020-16-51_Emergency.pdf

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Older 737s have problems too

      "Pre-MAX 737s have a problem after being stored for a while"

      That's not really a problem. There hasn't been any worldwide event causing lots of planes to be stored for a while, so this shouldn't come up.

  4. Elledan Bronze badge

    Flying wings/bodies

    I wonder whether at some point we will actually see flying wing or body configurations for pax and cargo airplanes. We have been kinda doing the 'tube with wings' design for the better part of a hundred years now, with very little variation on this theme.

    Airplanes like the B2 have shown that the principle of flying wing works. A cargo version could be pretty neat, while also ticking the boxes for efficiency and noise profiles. A pax version might be trickier, due to fewer windows, but that's something which cargo does not care much for.

    I have seen some concept designs from various manufacturers zip by the past decades, but so far nothing concrete yet. Anyone knows whether we can expect something here within the next hundred years? :)

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: Flying wings/bodies

      TBH, windows are highly over rated. Except for some of those making their first flights and a few others, the vast majority of passengers - esp on long haul - know there is bugger all to see most of the time, and are just looking forward to getting off at the other end.

      A plane with no windows, or just a few in a 'viewing area', or where they can charge extra for those for whom looking out is a big deal, would be cheaper to build, sounder structurally, and the majority of passengers would be quite happy, only a small proportion of seats have a window even now.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Flying wings/bodies

        "and the majority of passengers would be quite happy"

        Maybe, but I think not. Even if you've not got a window seat, knowing the windows are there and that you can see a bit of blue through them almost certainly has a psychological effect. I suspect having no windows, or having to leave your seat to go to a special area that has a window would leave people feeling a bit more closed in. Possibly one of those psychological effects where you don't actually realise it's causing discomfort.

        1. hoopsa

          Re: Flying wings/bodies

          Discussions I've seen around this issue have suggested that screens showing the outside might be a solution. I think they'd need better cameras than the ones that usually provide outside views of the world on aircraft, though.

      2. hoola Bronze badge

        Re: Flying wings/bodies

        I thought that there was already a proposal to replace the windows with a screen internally as a concept as there were advantages (cannot remember what but I bet cheaper was one).

    2. Mike Richards

      Re: Flying wings/bodies

      A real problem with flying wings as passenger aircraft is that people sitting some distance from the central access will experience relatively large vertical accelerations and decelerations as the plane banks. Apparently those sorts of motion are linked to serious barfage - so I'm guessing we'll see them round about 'never' - unless the airlines take the next step in making air travel more 'efficient' by anaesthetising people at check-in and stacking them like cordwood.

      1. Adair Silver badge

        Re: Flying wings/bodies

        Bring it on, I'd take suspended animation, or mere unconsciousness, for the duration any day on a 12+ hour flight. The shine wore off years ago; cattle class is not a civilised way to travel, and even business class loses it's thrill, but at least you can lie down.

        And then do something about the Seventh Circle of Hell that is transit, especially through the US. Yep, unconsciousness all the way would do very well.

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Flying wings/bodies

        unless the airlines take the next step in making air travel more 'efficient' by anaesthetising people at check-in and stacking them like cordwood.

        Oh, I'm sure the airlines would like to see the development of usable cryogenic suspension. Freeze the passengers at the terminal, and palletize them by destination. No need for flight attendants, multiple stops per plane, easy loading/unloading (just forklift passengers as a batch). If they're not expecting to be picking up at any of the airports, just do a low fly-over and use a drop-skid..

        Just hope they stack you on the right pallet. Think it's bad when the airline misdirects your luggage? Wait until they misdirect YOU.

  5. fishman

    Farewell - sort of

    While the 747 will no longer be produced after 2022, the 747 will probably keep on flying for years to come - primarily as a freighter.

  6. Mike Richards

    That's all folks!

    No more four-engined airliners.

    It doesn't seem that long ago that the thought of crossing the Atlantic on only two engines was novel and a little bit scary.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: That's all folks!

      It doesn't seem that long ago that the thought of crossing the Atlantic on only two engines was novel and a little bit scary.

      AMEN to that.

      ETOPS: Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim

    2. bazza Silver badge

      Re: That's all folks!

      It is a little bit scary, but it's undeniably the case that ETOPS has lead to pretty much no problems at all. It is a triumph of intellect over intuition.

      I just wouldn't want to fly into a volcanic plume in one, that's all...

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: That's all folks!

        I just wouldn't want to fly into a volcanic plume in one, that's all...

        In that case, there is not much difference between two and four engines, see KL867 and BA009 as two examples (flame out on all four engines in both cases).

  7. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Sorry to see the 747 go!

    But nearly 60 years (by the time the last one rolls off the line) is a great run!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Sorry to see the 747 go!

      The B52 is from 1955 and is expected to be in service into 2040s

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: Sorry to see the 747 go!

        Yes, that is extraordinary, but there is less competition for producing heavy bombers, and the U.S. Air Force can afford to put things like fuel expense to the side. With the newer precision-guided bombs, the B-52 can deliver precision strikes, carry a LOT of ordanance, attack from standoff range if needed, loiter over a battlefield for a few hours if needed and it is pretty cheap to maintain when compared to B-1, B-2 or the new generation of supersonic bombers that the Air Force is getting ready for.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Sorry to see the 747 go!

          If you have total air superiority and are just dropping tonnes of stuff on goatherds then all you need is big plane Something with 4 engines, 250,000lb payload and first class acomodation.

          I also know a bunch of airlines that would offload them for cheap

          1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Sorry to see the 747 go!

            After a hard day of raining death on militant goatherds, you can retire to the onboard bar in the former first-class cabin and knock back a few cold ones on your way home!

            (Maybe you Brits should enquire with BA about where they plan to offload their 747s.)

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Sorry to see the 747 go!

              >Maybe you Brits should enquire with BA about where they plan to offload their 747s

              I believe the plan is to load them with God-awful Starbucks coffee and dump them in the harboUr in Boston

              1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

                Re: Sorry to see the 747 go!

                Loading them up with iced tea mix would also work.

                https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HBO134?tag=duckduckgo-exp-b-20&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1

  8. boltar Silver badge

    That opening nose is THE selling point of that freighter

    Its all very well for freight companies to think the current fleet will do for now , but no other civilian aircraft currently on the production line can or is planned to have nose loading facilities, so when the current 747Fs with nose loading are put out to pasture what will they do? I doubt Boeing will restart the 747 line and you simply cannot transport significant sized cargo such as vehicles without nose loading so unless they plan on hiring something from the miitary they'll be screwed.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: That opening nose is THE selling point of that freighter

      No, it would cost tens or maybe even hundreds of millions of $ to restart the 747 production line once it is shut down, even if the buildings involved were not repurposed or torn down. You'd need to restart production at all the parts suppliers, train a new generation of 747 production workers, refresh all the production equipment and systems, get all that audited/inspected/approved so that the new-generation 747s would be certified as airworthy, etc.

      It wouldn't be worth it to Boeing, unless cargo carriers were willing to pay through the nose (no pun intended) for their new 747s.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: That opening nose is THE selling point of that freighter

        It does rather beg the question though, from whence are specialist large aircraft going to come from? Is the freight market alone big enough to justify the development of aircraft that large?

        I don't think it is.

        Then there's the Antonovs, which provide a fairly niche but none the less critical heavy lift capacity to the world. They've got only one AN-225 flying, but the revenue hasn't been enough to allow Antonov to complete 2nd one (the Chinese are now paying for it, and will get it and a series production run).

        And it looks like far off future purchases of Air Force Ones are going to have to settle for a poxy little twin jet. The ones that are slowly being put together for Trump will probably be the last ones that large.

        So it looks like sub-sonic large aircraft have had their "Concorde" moment, in that the biggest, fastest ones we're ever going to see are now beginning to disappear, probably forever.

        Boy, is humanity losing its mojo or what?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That opening nose is THE selling point of that freighter

      Maybe civilian versions of the A400 or C17 if Airbus/Boeing see future demand.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: That opening nose is THE selling point of that freighter

        I'm pretty sure the C-17 production line has been shut down for several years now, and that Boeing is just making spare parts for the current fleet. I am somewhat sure the A-400 is still in production, but I didn't really research that carefully.

        1. Dirk Munk

          Re: That opening nose is THE selling point of that freighter

          The C-17 has been out of production for years now, the A-400M is still in production. However, the A-400M is a much smaller aircraft than the C-17 or 747 freighter.

          The Antonov AN-124 was designed as a military freighter, but Antonov is now using a small fleet of these aircraft for civilian work all over the world. The huge AN-225 had to be completely overhauled and improved for use as a civilian aircraft. There is still one in store, and the Chinese did have interest in it, but they wanted to assemble it in China, and the parts are to big to transport there, so as far as I'm aware the project was halted.

          The problem is that there are no new big freighters in production or planned after the 747 freighter is out of production, and the world does need such aircraft. Perhaps Airbus could buy the Ukrainian Antonov, and starts building separate lines of freighter aircraft there. Antonov is very good at those, and the combined knowledge of both companies would certainly produce excellent aircraft.

        2. Marketing Hack Silver badge

          Re: That opening nose is THE selling point of that freighter

          FYI, the U.S. Air Force plans to be using the C-17 for at least the next 20 years, so there will be no new large air freighter you can buy from a U.S. manufacturer for at least that amount of time

          1. Dirk Munk

            Re: That opening nose is THE selling point of that freighter

            There are no civilian C-17's as far as I'm aware. Don't forget that the 747 once was designed as the competitor to the C-5 Galaxy, that is also still flying. The Antonov 124 is the Ukrainian equivalent of the C-5, but contrary to the C-5 there is a small fleet of civilian AN-124's

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

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