Lets address the issue of "IF or CAN" Boeing be producing 748F at a current profit, and even potentially recover the previously written off deferred production cost.
Here are the 747 Accounting Quantity (Block) at end of year, based on the Boeing Annual Report for these years:
2015: 1574 (write-off to account for future lower production rates: See Quoted Boeing Report Statement below)
2016: 1555 (write-off of now unanticipated production of 19 frames; along with lower expected profit due to producing more of the frames at 6 aircraft a year in the future: See Quoted Boeing Statement below):
2018; Not yet reported; but Boeing booked 18 net firm orders for 748F in 2018, and there are reports of future interested new 748F clients. Are they going to change the accounting block, or wait for more orders to materialize?
Excerpt from Boeing 2016 Annual Report on the 748:
Lower-than-expected demand for large commercial passenger and freighter aircraft and slower-thanexpected
growth of global freight traffic have continued to drive market uncertainties, pricing pressures
and fewer orders than anticipated. As a result, during 2016, we canceled previous plans to return to a
production rate of 1.0 aircraft per month beginning in 2019, resulting in a reduction in the program accounting
quantity from 1,574 to 1,555 aircraft. This reduction in the program accounting quantity, together with lower
anticipated revenues from future sales and higher costs associated with producing fewer airplanes, resulted
in a reach-forward loss of $1,188 in the second quarter. We previously recognized reach-forward losses
of $885 and $70 during the second half of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, respectively, related to the
prior decision to reduce the production rate to 0.5 per month and lower estimated revenue from future
sales due to ongoing pricing and market pressures. We reduced the rate from 1.0 to 0.5 per month in
September 2016. The adjusted program accounting quantity includes 26 undelivered aircraft, currently
scheduled to be produced through 2019. We continue to have a number of completed aircraft in inventory
as well as unsold production positions and we remain focused on obtaining additional orders and
implementing cost-reduction efforts. If we are unable to obtain sufficient orders and/or market, production
and other risks cannot be mitigated, we could record additional losses that may be material, and it is
reasonably possible that we could decide to end production of the 747.
It is my understanding that the $values reported are in "Millions of $"
If you add all 2015 and 2016 748 write-off of 748 deferred production cost in the above note; it equals $2,143 (millions), or $2.143 Billion
However, that then puts each aircraft produced after these write-offs in 2016 as expected to at least pay off the remaining deferred production backlog cost from initial production cost by frame 1555 (especially as Boeing had firm contracts for almost all - if not all - of these frames and could actually estimate gross production profit); plus whatever profit Boeing expects (and Boeing does expect a profit, and are not reporting a possible future loss in their notes about the 747 in the 2017 report). Frames after 1555 should have NO (Zero) deferred production cost backlog.
According to the 2018 3rd quarter Q10 report; Boeing had 1568 Delivered or Firm orders for the 748. Thus, 13 of the latest UPS Frame order would expected to be at production cost profit without any deferred production cost. Clearly cash flow positive.
Additional orders - if they continue for some years - might even allow for the "Theoretical" recovery of the previously written of deferred production cost.
I will restate my previous statement: Without digging up all the info on R&D. It is my understanding that overall Boeing lost in the $3-$5 Billion range on the 748. There is no hope that they will recover much of the R&D related to the 748.
I hope this helps clarify things.
Have a great day,