They still make them, and sell quite a few every year. There is also the new model 747-8 that is coming out, should keep the airframe viable for another 50 years. www.boeing.com/commercial/747family/747-8_background.html
The Boeing 747-8 Family: A Proud Tradition of Value Continues
The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and 747-8 Freighter are the new high-capacity 747s that offer airlines the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large passenger or freighter airplane.
This latest family of the 747 jetliners meets airline requirements for a passenger airplane that serves the 400- to 500-seat market between the 555-seat Airbus A380 and the 365-seat Boeing 777-300 Extended Range airplanes, and a freighter that continues the leadership of the 747 Freighter family in the world cargo market.
Boeing launched the airplane on November 14, 2005 with firm orders for 18 747-8 Freighters; 10 from Cargolux of Luxembourg and eight from Nippon Cargo Airlines -- NCA -- of Japan. The combined list price value of the orders is approximately $5 billion.
Boeing had been studying the market feasibility of a new 747 for some time, working with operators to establish their requirements for an incrementally larger 747 to continue the profitability of current 747 fleets. By working together with customers and applying the innovative new technologies of the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing was able to create the 747-8 family. In fact, the designation 747-8 was chosen to show the technology connection between the 787 and the new 747.
Cargolux will add the first 747-8 Freighter to its all-Boeing fleet of 747 freighters in third-quarter 2009, followed by NCA in fourth-quarter 2009.
Both the passenger and freighter versions of the 747-8 will allow operators to maximize their profitability. Seat-mile costs for the 747-8 Intercontinental are 8 percent lower than the 747-400, with comparable trip costs. The 747-8 Intercontinental is more than 13 percent lighter per seat than the A380, and as consumes 14 percent less fuel per passenger. That translates into a trip-cost reduction of 22 percent and a seat-mile cost reduction of more than 6 percent compared to the A380.
The 747-8 is the only large airplane that fits today's airport infrastructure, giving airlines the flexibility to fly to more destinations. The 747-8 will fly into the 210 airports worldwide served by the current 747 family, using the same pilot type ratings, services and most ground support equipment. With a range of 14,815- km (8,000-nmi), the 747-8 Intercontinental can connect nearly any major city pair in the world.
The 747-8 family provides new revenue opportunities that will allow airlines to maximize profits. For example, the passenger airplane has 34 additional seats to accommodate 450 passengers in a typical three-class configuration and also offer 21 percent more cargo volume. The 747-8 Freighter offers a range of 8,275 km (4,475 nmi) and has 16 percent more cargo volume than the 747-400, which allows it to hold seven additional pallets with the same nose-door loading capability, industry-standard 3-m (10-ft) high pallets and real-world cargo density capability at 158 kg/cu m or 9.8 lb/cu ft.
The new SkyLoft area on the upper deck of the 747-8 Intercontinental gives operators the choice between additional main-deck seats or the opportunity to create a unique passenger experience through personal suites, a lounge or a business center.
Both airplanes represent a new benchmark in fuel efficiency and noise reduction, allowing airlines to lower fuel costs and fly into more airports at more times of the day.
The 747-8 Intercontinental is 16 percent more fuel efficient than the 747-400, 14 percent more fuel efficient than the A380, and offers guaranteed QC2 departures.
With a total payload capacity of 140 tonnes (154 tons) the 747-8 Freighter offers 16 percent more revenue cargo volume than the 747-400F with slightly greater range. The additional 117 cu m (4,124 cu ft) of volume means the airplane can accommodate four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets. The 747-8 Freighter enables operators to choose between carrying greater revenue payload - up to an additional 20 tonnes (23 tons)-- or flying up to 1,400 nmi farther in markets where cargo density requirements are lower. The airplane upholds its predecessor's legendary efficiency, with equivalent trip costs and 15 percent lower ton-mile costs than the 747-400F. In fact, the 747-8 Freighter will enjoy the lowest ton-mile costs of any freighter, giving operators unmatched profit potential.
Compared one-on-one, the 747-8 Freighter has no competitors. The 747-8 Freighter's empty weight is 86 tonnes (95 tons) lighter than the A380 freighter. This results in a 25 percent lower fuel burn per ton, which translates into 20 percent lower trip costs and 23 percent lower ton-mile costs than the A380F.
The 747-8 is the right size for the large airplane market, lowering risk for airlines in a highly variable operating environment.