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Boeing reduces 747 production rate as demand lags

Boeing will slow down production of its double-decker 747 jumbo jet as demand continues to be weak.

Counting cancellations, Boeing has not booked any new orders this year for that plane.

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Boeing said on Friday that it will slow 747 production to 18 per year. Boeing originally planned to build 24 per year, but slow sales had already prompted it to make plans to cut the rate to 21 per year.

The slowdown begins early next year, and Boeing said it will stay at that lower rate through 2015.

The slower rate ‘‘doesn’t change our confidence in the 747-8 or our commitment to the program,’’ said Eric Lindblad, Boeing’s vice president and general manager for the 747, in a prepared statement.

The 747 has been flying with airlines since 1970, and it was popular at first for its long range and large size. But the revamped 747-8 first delivered in 2011 has not been selling well. More than half of the orders have been for freighters, and even that market has been weak.

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