Chicago (dpa) - An era is coming to an end with the ailing US aviation giant Boeing: the Airbus archrival stopped producing its 747 jumbo jet after more than 50 years.

The last 747 will be built in 2022, Boeing said in Chicago on Wednesday. CEO Dave Calhoun justified the step with the current market development. The once largest passenger jet in the world completed its maiden flight in 1969.

Surprisingly, the end is not coming - Boeing had been considering for years to stamp out the jumbo, previously celebrated as the “Queen of the Skies”, due to a lack of demand. The most recent production rate was a meager 6 machines per year. In addition, the model was recently built practically only in the freight version - and in a special version for the US government jet Air Force One.

In addition, the US aviation giant is badly hit and has to save. The corona pandemic and the debacle surrounding the 737 Max crisis jet, which was banned after two crashes, brought Boeing deep into the red. The bottom line was a loss of approximately $ 2.4 billion in the second quarter, according to the US aviation giant. A year ago, high special costs due to the unfortunate 737 Max had caused the company a record loss of $ 2.9 billion. Revenue fell a quarter compared to the previous year to $ 11.8 billion.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun described the past few months as unprecedented in a memo to employees and warned that the burden of the corona crisis was not over. "The challenges we face as a company have not been overcome." Boeing's quarterly loss was about twice that expected by analysts. After all: With $ 5.3 billion, the company burned less money than expected in its daily business in the past quarter.

Boeing now plans to further reduce the production of its long-haul jets. In the coming year, for example, only six copies of the 787 “Dreamliner” long-haul jet will be completed per month. The production of the even larger Boeing 777 and its new edition 777X is expected to decrease to two planes per month. Boeing is not expecting delivery of the first 777X until 2022, so the premiere will be postponed again. Production of the 737 Max is now starting up more slowly than planned.

While the misfortune pilot's hopes of being re-registered soon increased, the Corona crisis is likely to continue to weigh heavily on air traffic, and thus on Boeing as well. Airlines canceled numerous orders in the first half of the year. With the corona escalating again in some U.S. states and other parts of the world, no rapid recovery is in sight. "The reality is that the impact of the pandemic on aviation remains serious," said Boeing chief Calhoun.

There is hope at least for the most important model 737 Max, which because of two crashes with a total of 346 deaths has not been allowed to start for over a year and cannot be delivered. The Boeing management is expecting this to be put back into operation soon, the US aviation authority had recently initiated the final phase of the re-approval process. However, the timing is unfortunate, because now the corona pandemic is dropping demand for new jets, so that many orders are uncertain.

The 737-Max accidents have also shaken confidence in Boeing and scratched the company's image enormously, which until the crashes was seen as a showcase company and the driving force behind the US economy. Defective control software was identified as the cause of the accident in the previous investigation reports. Boeing is suspected of rushing to market the 737 Max and neglecting safety. The reputation should not recover so quickly even with a re-registration.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200729-99-968928 / 2