Boeing “has ended 747 production”, Airlines Greenwash again

Boeing ends 747

Both Bloomberg and CNBC have reported that Boeing is quietly ending 747 production and will not take any orders for the aircraft now or in the future. The current order book has parts to complete existing demand, and that will be that. At the current build rate of 6 a year, the last aircraft should be delivered around mid-late 2022.

Ironically the last ones to enter service, although they’re far from being a standard 748i, will be the two used to replace the current ancient 742’s that serve as Air Force One. They were ex-TransAero and never delivered. They should enter service in early 2025, as custom has it that the President who orders them never gets to use them, so it won’t be Trump, even if he were to get a second term, but whoever is elected in the November of 2024.

The future of the 748 was doomed as soon as Triumph decided to stop building the fuselage panels, back in mid-2019. There was no way Boeing was going to take that project on.

Why Boeing won’t come out and say it publicly rather than let it travel via back channels is as much PR in itself as anything else. They don’t want a lot of “Boeing kills iconic 747” stories around July 4 or to be labelled in one of those tweets by those who don’t understand the commercial pressures.

The last 748i was delivered back in 2017 to Korean, and the last 748F will go to UPS.

ICAO re-jigs the CORSIA standard, allowing airlines to pollute more

You appreciate how much I love air travel and airlines, the industry in general, yet I do passionately believe it must become more sustainable if its to reach 2019 heights again and go beyond, which it’s set to do by 2025.

Co2 released from air travel is the most dangerous, because its released into the high atmosphere, completely unmitigated by oceans, trees or the general environment.

CORSIA was going to use 2019 and 2020 emissions, then average them out to use as a baseline. Any amount over the average figure would mean the airlines would have to pay to offset their emissions. Therefore it encouraged them to reduce their Co2 output.

For example; Airline Alpha emitted 5,000 tons in 2019 and 4,500 in 2020, so 9,500 tons, divided by two is 4,250. So any emissions over 4,250 tons, say 4,500 in 2021, they would have to pay to offset, so in this case 250 tons.

It was a pretty generous scheme, requiring them to do not a lot, if they had managed through new aircraft, or weight reduction, to get their 2021 figure below the average for 2019-20, they’d pay nothing.

So what’s the big deal?

The answer is that ICAO has decided that airlines will only have to use the 2019 figure. Anything below that they won’t pay a cent.

Let me explain. If Airline A had emitted 5,000 tons in 2019, but because of Covid-19 that had dropped to 2,000 tons in 2020, for a total of 7,000 tons, divide that by 2 for an average and you get 3,500 tons. So if in 2021 they got to 4,000 tons they’d have pay to offset 500 tons.

With air traffic not expected to return to 2019 levels until 2023, by keeping one year, 2019, arguably the highest on record anyway, if they don’t pass 5,000 tons as in this example, they don’t have to pay a cent to offset anything, just carry on emitting as they build up traffic without any consequences.

The whole CORSIA deal was dodgy enough as it was, now this makes it nothing more than a totally empty and pointless farce, airlines are already moving towards lower emissions, and you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll wangle their way to pay nothing come what may.

Call me cynical, but when 87 countries have signed up to it, without any moaning from their airlines, you can guarantee its because it’s a pretty label to put on their websites while it costs them nothing at all to look like they’re being greener. The very epitome of Greenwashing!