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Boeing 747 may be flying into the sunset -

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"The 747 is a dead man walking at this point," said Scott Hamilton, an aviation industry consultant and managing director of Leeham Co. in Issaquah, Wash. "It had its day and ushered in the era of the jumbo jet, but now that day is done."

Still, Boeing is standing by the legendary jetliner and remains optimistic about the next-generation 747-8, a modernized, stretched version of the 747. The fate of the massive Hawthorne factory where hundreds of workers make the panels for the center fuselage hinges on Boeing's outlook.

"While the market has softened in recent years for large aircraft, both passenger and freighter versions, Boeing remains committed to the 747-8," Boeing spokeswoman Carrie Ann Berry said. "We believe the 747-8 is a very competitive airplane with a significant market niche."

With Korean Air's order of five 747-8 Intercontinental jetliners last week, Boeing expects that the market will return in 2014. It forecasts global demand for 760 large airplanes such as its 777 and the 747 over the next 20 years.

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