Near term, the 744 line is strong. Freighters will support the line for some time.
But, September 11, 2001, has changed everything. We are in a new world now. The 747 should be in production for some time with the 744ER. But if poeple stay out of airplanes, and the airlines keep taking financial blows, there may not be a need for the queen of the skies.
God I hope I'm wrong. The 747 is my favorite aircraft. I would truly have to empty a caraffe of brandy mourning the passing of this irreplacible aircraft.
Long live the 747.
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.