The pending bankruptcy of Russia’s second-largest airline, Transaero, could ripple around the world to be a big problem for Boeing.
Transaero is one of the few airlines that has ordered Boeing’s beleaguered 747-8i, the passenger version of Boeing’s largest jet, and the airline now has four on the books.
The Russian airline, the first private sector airline to emerge after the end of the Soviet Union, is now expected to stop operations at the end of December. It has lost traffic due to Russia’s mounting economic problems and the devaluation of the ruble, which have reduced demand for air travel there.
Losing those four orders could be a major setback for the 747, because few other passenger orders remain.
Boeing’s website lists 15 of the passenger models remaining to be built, but two of those are from Arik Air, a Nigerian airline that some observers think will never take the planes. A few others remain to be delivered to Air China and Korean Air, and Boeing has two it has to build for the U.S. Air Force that are set to become Air Force One.
Several others are for VIP jets for individual buyers.
Boeing currently has orders for just eight of the freighter model of the 747, and it has been counting on more freighter orders to keep the line running.
The company plans to lower the production rate to one monthly to stretch out the current orders as long as possible.