Production of the worlds most iconic aircraft, the Boeing 747, faces uncertainty, as its fuselage factory begins to sell manufacturing equipment.
As reported by Bloomberg, the largest supplier for the Boeing 747-8 program, Triumph Group Inc., is starting to auction off their manufacturing equipment; from a plant that has been used for 747 parts production since the late 1960s.
Band saws are starting from as little as $5 each and an automated riveting machine designed to circle fuselages, whilst fasting skin panels in place, is starting at $100,000.
Located on Jack Northrop Avenue in Hawthorne, work started at the plant after Boeing received backing from Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) with an order for 25 747s.
18 747-8 Freighter models remain in the order backlog, which equates to three more years of production. This year saw no new sales as trade tensions reportedly reduced the need for larger aircraft and political sales.
Sam Chui was recently on board a Qatar Airways Cargo Boeing 747-8F, which you can view here:
If they decide to keep manufacturing going, the company will have to invest a significant amount of money in building the fuselages, aluminium skins and other components themselves.
Triumph Group is working ahead of schedule to produce fuselages and components, before closing the doors to this particular plant in December 2019.
As well as terminating the fuselage plant, Triumph Group also has plans set in place to close their Dallas-area plant over the next year or so; meaning Boeing will have to manufacturer their own tail sections, floor beams and other related parts.
Unless the 747 picks up new demand, as the freight market grows further, the worlds most iconic and recognisable aircraft will be a part of one of the largest farewell ceremonies.
Despite this, passenger 747s still remain in the skies; when the time comes to retire them, there’ll likely be significant demand for passenger to freighter conversions.
As a result of this option, plane spotters, ground staff, aspiring pilots and other members of the aviation community will be able to watch the Queen of the Skies takeoff and land for quite some time.