Boeing has been in deep trouble before. In the early seventies they cut thousands of jobs and a billboard on the highway from downtown Seattle to the airport read; ”The last guy to leave Seattle, please turn off the light”.
Now, while considering lay-offs of 16.000 workers, they are also re-starting manufacturing the 737MAX. Even with major cancellations – 373 this first half year and 439 at risk – they have thousands on order. There are plenty of reasons for airlines to want delivery, one major reason being fuel efficiency. Others are advantages with staying with one manufacturer and difficulties with breaking contracts. Many also realize that despite the tarnished reputation it is one of the best airplanes around. Future will tell the full story.
On another positive note for Boeing, badly needed amidst billions of dollars in losses, the new B777X is expected to fly next year. It will come in three versions and with foldable (!) wingtips it will be the largest wide-body around, also able to use regular gates. Lufthansa is the launch customer. They ordered their first B777-9 in 2013. Other airlines that will fly the new 777 are All Nippon Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.
Boeing lovers need some good news when the era for the greatest love of all is coming to an end. The Queen of the skies is abdicating without any distinguished successor. The B747 has served mankind for over half a century (50:th anniversary february 2019), and changed the world of flying forever. Airbus attempt to create a competitor failed. Being a remarkable piece of engineering, the A380 was never the hit Airbus had hoped for. Even though passengers loved it, especially those pampered in first class by upscale Middle East and Asian airlines, some with the possibility of a 5 min. shower before landing, it did not sell well, and its lifespan will be a just couple of decades, by the look of it. The only race in which it manages to beat the 747 is to the aircraft boneyard in the desert, being of course helped along the way by the worldwide downturn in air travel. One should of course regret that such a magnificent enterprise by Airbus, with a flawless air-safety record on top, didn’t make it. Maybe future has another story.