While the 787 Dreamliner is still experiencing serious delays, the latest iteration of the Boeing 747, the 747-8, is set to roll out today. The 747-8 Intercontinental boasts new wings, a new tail, a sharper nose, state of the art engines, and a new cockpit.
The Boeing 747 has been in the air since 1968, and until the Airbus A380 superjumbo came out, was the largest passenger aircraft. The jumbo jet changed the airline industry. Airlines, given the choice between speed(the Concorde), and size(the 747), chose size. After all, more capacity means lower costs which means more profit.
The 747-8 Intercontinental will seat 467 passengers in a three-class configuration, 51 more than the current 747-400, with 13% reduced cost, and 30% less noise. That is 58 less passengers than the A380, but Boeing says that it burns 11% less fuel per passenger, and a 6% less passenger seat-mile cost. Airbus rejects that claim, and states that the A380 uses 3% less fuel per passenger kilometer than the 747-8.
Lufthansa is set to be the first airline to receive the 747-8 in the first quarter of 2012, although the freighter version is set to be delivered to its first customer in the middle of this year. It is similar enough to the older model that pilots can be certified on it in three days.
Orders for the 747-8 has been disappointing, with 33 orders going to only two customers (Lufthansa and Korean Air). There are orders for 74 of the freighter version.
- Boeing touts new 747-8 Intercontinental, says it will sell (seattlepi.com)
- Inside the 747-8 factory (news.cnet.com)