Home' Asian Aviation : AAV April 2011 Contents Boeing began flight-testing its 747-8
Intercontinental on 20 March, with the new
jetliner's first flight taking off from Paine Field
in Everett, Washington, before an audience
of thousands of employees, customers,
suppliers and community leaders.
The aircraft landed four hours and 25
minutes later at Boeing Field in Seattle. The
aircraft will now embark on a flight-test
programme scheduled to finish in the fourth
quarter, including more than 600 flight
The newest, and probably last,
development of Boeing's four-decades old
747 programme was flown by 747 Chief
Pilot Mark Feuerstein and Capt Paul Stemer.
The aircraft followed a route over Eastern
Washington, where it underwent tests for
basic handling and performance, reaching a
cruising altitude of 19,000ft (5,791m) and a
speed of up to 250 knots (463kmh).
"This is a great day for the 747-8 team and
for all of Boeing. What an honour it is to see
such a beautiful airplane fly," said Elizabeth
Lund, the company's vice-president and
general manager of the 747-8 programme.
Boeing claims the 747-8I will have "the
lowest seat-mile cost of any large commercial
jetliner, with 12
percent lower costs
than its predecessor,
The airplane is
also expected to
offer a 16 percent
improvement in fuel
16 percent less
carbon emissions per
passenger and a 30
percent smaller noise
The cabin interior
features from Boeing's 787 'Dreamliner',
including a curved, upswept architecture to
give passengers a greater feeling of space
and comfort while adding more room for
The manufacturer has so far gathered
a total of 33 orders for the aircraft, from
launch customer Lufthansa, Korean Air and
various VIP customers. Air China also has
agreed to order five of the airliners, pending
government approval. First delivery is
scheduled for the fourth quarter.
The aircraft is painted in a new 'Sunrise'
livery of red-orange which is a significant
departure from Boeing's standard blue. The
manufacturer says the colours were chosen
as an acknowledgement of "many key
Boeing customers whose cultures recognize
these colours as symbols of prosperity and
good luck" -- taken to be a reference to
customers in Asia and the Middle East.
The Sunrise livery only will appear on
the first aircraft, which is scheduled to be
delivered to a VIP customer at the end of the
year. -- Andrzej Jeziorski
Boeing's 747-8I Intercontinental takes to the skies
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) posted a profit of
234 million ringgit (US$77 million) for the
year ended 31 December 2010, a drop of
52.24 percent from the previous year, due
to rising oil prices. Revenue increased 14.4
percent to RM12.9 billion ringgit.
MAS' Managing Director and Chief
Executive Officer Azmil Zahruddin describes
the performance as satisfactory, but adds
that fuel remains a major concern for the
airline. "It is difficult to predict how the price
of fuel will be ... for the rest of the year,"
The carrier has restructured its fuel-
hedging policy to cover 25 percent of
requirements for 2011 at a fixed US$88 a
barrel. The airline warns that it may increase
fuel surcharges on fares if oil prices keep
During the course of 2010, MAS took
delivery of three Boeing 737-800 single-aisle
jetliners while its low-cost subsidiary Firefly
took delivery of its last three ATR72-500
turboprops, expanding its fleet to ten aircraft.
Azmil sees more challenges in the near
future. "The economies in Europe and North
America are still weak, while the unrest in
the Middle East may fuel a steep rise in oil
prices," Azmil pointed out.
Nevertheless, the MAS chief remains
confident that the Asia-Pacific region will
drive growth in air-transport demand over
the next five years.
According to IATA, international passenger
demand in the region is expected to grow
7.6 percent over the period. China will be the
biggest domestic and international market in
Asia, followed by Japan and Hong Kong.
China will also be the fastest-growing
market for international passenger traffic,
expanding at 10.8 percent per annum. The
next-fastest growth markets will be the
United Arab Emirates and Vietnam (both at
10.2 percent), followed by Malaysia (at 10.1
percent) and Sri Lanka (9.5 percent).
This year, MAS will take delivery of five
more 737-800s and three Airbus 330-
300 widebody twinjets. The carrier is also
considering exercising its right to convert
some of its 20 options for the 737-800 to
737-900ERs. -- William Dennis
The Boeing 747-8I takes off for the first time from Paine Field.
AsianAviation | APRIL 2011 7
Malaysia Airlines' annual profit drops on rising fuel costs
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