Disappointing sales for Boeing newest 747 airliner could force the company to cut back the production pace on its Everett assembly line next year, the company said in a newly released filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
The production rate increased from 1.5 to two airplanes per month in May 2012. Ongoing weakness in the air cargo market and lower-than-expected demand for large commercial passenger aircraft have resulted in pricing pressures and fewer orders than anticipated in 2012.
According to Boeing, "We have a number of unsold Freighter and Intercontinental production positions beyond 2013. If we are unable to obtain orders for multiple Freighter aircraft in 2013 consistent with our near-term production plans, we may be required to take actions including reducing the number of airplanes produced and/or building airplanes for which we have not received firm orders.
"We also remain focused on reducing out-of-sequence work, improving supply chain efficiency and implementing cost-reduction efforts. If market and production risks cannot be mitigated, the program could face an additional reach-forward loss that may be material."
Meanwhile, Boeing and Icelandair announced Wednesday a firm order for 16 of Boeing's newest 737 airliners, the 737 Max. At list prices, the order is worth $1.6 billion. The order was for four more 737s than Boeing and the airline announced last December before the two had signed formal paperwork. The 737 Max will be built at Boeing's Renton plant.