Boeing 747 extended life
A video on the Just Planes YouTube channel showing the final EL AL Boeing 747 flight caught my attention.
EL AL is the latest airline to retire its B-747 fleet after nearly 50 years of service. The aircraft that so revolutionized the airline industry seems to have been made redundant by the state of the current industry. They made air travel exciting and attractive as the public was awed by these massive flying machines; a ride on a B-747 was quite an event.
Air travel is now common and expected by the current generation of both business and leisure travellers. The market now requires smaller short range (regional jets) aircraft that are “Air Taxis” and move people quickly to their destinations. Wide-body fleets need to be fuel efficient to be profitable but the ‘high density’ configurations employed by several airlines make long haul flights anything but luxurious.
The Airbus A380 has been a disappointment and Airbus will cease production in 2021 and are not planning to redesign the aircraft as a freighter. (See video link below).
However, the Boeing B-747-8 seems to be primed for a niche market in the air cargo and ‘specialized’ aircraft market. Its Wikipedia page currently shows 154 ordered and delivered in 2019 (47 B747-8 Intercontinental passenger aircraft & 107 Freighters).
Two Boeing VC-25B models are currently being prepared to replace the Air Force One fleet; it is hard to imagine any other aircraft model being used for these iconic aircraft.
Air cargo continues to be a growing industry and, with no clear competitor, the B-747-8F should continue to be extremely useful for many years to come.
Click the YouTube icon for a very informative explanation and insight into the current airline passenger market.