Boeing Makes Billion-Dollar Bet on 747 Hauling Cargo, Not People

Boeing Co. has a temporary plan to save the iconic but slow-selling 747 jumbo jetliner: buying its own planes and leasing them to cargo haulers. With the effective shutdown by Congress of the U.S. Export-Import Bank — which traditionally has helped overseas carriers purchase planes — Boeing lost a key sales tool. Making matters worse, leasing companies have been hesitant to finance a plane with a dwindling customer base. So Boeing is now renting out the massive, hump-backed 747s to cargo carriers in countries such as Russia and Azerbaijan, which increases the company’s exposure to potential defaults on payments.

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