Boeing is cutting the production rate of its 747-8 intercontinental jet from two planes a month to 1.75 per month because of lower demand for large passenger and freighter airplanes, the company announced Friday.
The first plane to be delivered under the new rate is expected to be in 2014.
Boeing said it will continue to monitor market conditions and the effect on production rates going forward.
Boeing expects long-term growth in the air cargo market to resume in 2014. It forecasts demand for 790 large airplanes, such as the 747-8, to be delivered worldwide in the next 20 years.
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The company has noted soft demand in the freighter market for some time, RBC Capital Markets analyst Robert Stallard said in an analyst note.
“If there is no pickup in orders, we could see further cuts to the 747-8 production rate,” Stallard said in the note.
Boeing has a backlog of 64 747-8s. It took only seven orders for the plane in 2012 and three so far this year, Stallard said.
Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita is a supplier on the program.
The news comes as Boeing prepares to cut its engineering and technical workforce in the Northwest by 1,500 to 1,700.