Boeing nears a $4bn deal that could save 747 program
US plane manufacturer Boeing is close to landing a firm order of 10 747-8 aircraft from Russia’s largest freight company AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Bloomberg reported.
During the last year’s Paris Air Show, Volga-Dnepr Group, the parent of AirBridgeCargo Airlines, signed a memorandum of understanding for acquiring 20 Boeing 747-8 freighters. The people close to negotiations claimed that based on the previous agreement, a firm order for 10 airplanes could be announced next month, during the Farnborough Airshow in England.
The Boeing 747-8 is a wide-body jet airliner is one of the most expensive aircraft in the world at a list price of around $380 million. The agreement could be valued around $3.8 bn although Volga-Dnepr is expected to negotiate significant discounts.
Over the past few years Boeing has struggled to sell 747 airplane as demand for four engine aircraft has diminished. This year the company reduced the production rate of the Boeing 747-8 aircraft from 1,3 planes per month, only to one airliner per month. Since the Boeing 747 was launched in 1970, 1,521 aircraft have been built. But in May 2016, Boeing had only 22 unfilled orders for the 747airplane.
The agreement could be crucial for the Boeing as the company waits for the cargo market to revive or shipping companies to start renewing their fleet.
Currently, AirBridgeCargo Airlines operates 8 Boeing 747-8Fs and 9 older 747-400 freighters. Its parent Volga-Dnepr Group also operates 12 Soviet-era Antonov AN124 that are not only the largest aircraft in the world but also transport oversized loads for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner production.
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