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Boeing rolls out final 747 development
At a ceremony attended by about 10,000 guests, Boeing unveiled what is most likely the final chapter in the history
of its 40-year-old 747 programme, writes Andrzej Jeziorski.
On 13 February, Boeing displayed
its largest product ever in
public for the rst time. e
747-8 Intercontinental is
the passenger version of the
latest -- and probably nal --
development of its famous 747 'Jumbo Jet', which
revolutionised air travel a er its initial entry into
service in 1970.
e manufacturer unveiled the aircra at its plant
in Everett, Washington, in front of approximately
10,000 guests -- including customers, employees,
government o cials, partners and suppliers. Speaking
at the event, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President
and Chief Executive O cer Jim Albaugh said the new
aircra incorporates technological advancements
that make it extremely productive for customers.
" e new 747-8 Intercontinental features the latest
in innovative technologies --- applying many of the
breakthroughs also found on the 787 'Dreamliner',"
said Albaugh. "We think our customers will value
the low operating costs and passengers will enjoy the
comfort of the striking new interior."
Also at the event was Nico Buchholz, executive
vice-president of group eet management for launch
customer Lu hansa.
"The 747-8 Intercontinental will be a great
complement to our eet, tting nicely into the 400-
seat category, improving our eet's eco-e ciency even
further," Buchholz said. "We are looking forward to
welcoming this new aircra to our eet next year
as it adds to our ongoing eet modernization and
environmental e orts."
In total, Boeing has collected 33 orders for the
747-8I to date, from Lu hansa, Korean Air and
unspeci ed VIP customers. First delivery is scheduled
for the fourth quarter of this year.
Smaller than Airbus's double-deck, 555-seat A380,
Boeing says the 747-8I uniquely lls a niche in the
"As the only airplane in the 400 to 500-seat market,
the 747-8 Intercontinental will give operators an
airplane perfectly suited for long, heavily travelled
routes around the world," said Pat Shanahan, Boeing's
vice-president and general manager of airplane
programmes. " e new 747-8 Intercontinental will
set a new standard in economic and environmental
performance, while providing a world-class passenger
e manufacturer claims the aircra will have "the
lowest seat-mile cost of any large commercial jetliner,
with 12 percent lower costs than its predecessor,
the 747-400". Compared with the -400, the 747-8I
o ers 16 percent better fuel economy, 16 percent
less carbon emissions per passenger and a 30 percent
smaller noise footprint. e company also claims an
11 percent advantage in fuel e ciency over Airbus's
The new aircraft's cabin interior incorporates
features from the 787 'Dreamliner', including new
curved, upswept architecture that gives passengers
a greater feeling of space and comfort, while adding
more room for personal belongings.
e aircra unveiled at the roll-out ceremony is
painted in a previously unseen 'Sunrise' livery of red-
orange -- a departure from the manufacturer's usual
blue colour scheme for development aircra . Boeing
says the livery will only appear on the rst 747-8I and
is intended to honour "many key Boeing customers
whose cultures recognize these colours as symbols of
prosperity and good luck".
It is understood that the colour scheme is a
reference to cultures in Asia, where the manufacturer
expects to nd the biggest market for the new aircra .
e roll-out places Boeing in a position where it
is now, for the rst time ever, going to be pursuing
certi cation for three new aircra simultaneously: the
747-8I, the 747-8F freighter version and the 787. e
crunch has come about because of delays to all three
development programmes, but the manufacturer says
it is con dent that it can meet its current certi cation
e 747-8I ight-test programme will start in
late March and take about 600 hours using two
development aircra . Completion is expected in the
fourth quarter, followed by certi cation at the end of
the year. At the same time, Boeing is targeting mid-
year certi cation for the 747-8F and the completion
of the 787 ight-test programme at the end of the
e Boeing 747-8I and its 747-8F stablemate "meet
airline requirements for a passenger
airplane that ser ves the 400- to 500-seat market
between the 555-seat Airbus A380 and
the 365-seat Boeing 777-300ER (extended range)
airplanes, and for a freighter that
continues the leadership of the 747 Freighter
The 747-8I s 'Sunrise livery is a nod to cultures in Asia,
where Boeing sees the most potential sales of the aircraft.
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