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Does the Boeing 747 Have a Future?

The first Boeing 747-8I. But how long will the model last?

The first Boeing 747-8I. But how long will the model last?

There are few who can make a case against the Boeing 747 as the most majestic and beautiful airliner in the sky.  I love the 747 (any variant) for its unique shape and instant recognition; you just won’t find folks lining up to tell you about the classic lines of the A380.  Originally released in 1970, the Queen of the Skies has defined the term “jumbo jet” for multiple generations.  But, despite the 747’s 40+ years as a long-haul mainstay for airlines around the world, is the future of the 747 and its latest variant, the 747-8, in jeopardy?

The Fiero Problem

The issue doesn’t seem to be that the 747 has gotten stale in its old age (in fact, Boeing’s latest version features new engines, a redesigned wing, a fuselage stretch, and advanced avionics; some might argue that Boeing spent WAY too much capital on a plane with so few orders).  Rather, the problem seems to be that other planes have gotten so much better.  This reminds me of that 80’s darling, the Pontiac Fiero, and its cool uncle, the Chevrolet Corvette.

GM and Pontiac built the Fiero from 1984-1988.  A mid-engined, two-seater sports car with sharp (for the 80’s) looks, the Fiero did a lot of things well that the Corvette also was known for.  Although not officially acknowledged by GM as a reason for ending the program, enthusiasts maintain that GM killed the Fiero because it was encroaching on the performance envelope of the ‘Vette, at lower acquisition and operating costs.  Sound familiar?  If you’ve ever flown on a Boeing 777, it should.

4 Engines 4 Long Haul. Makes sense, but takes gas. Image by SpeedbirdHD.

4 Engines 4 Long Haul. Makes sense, but takes gas. Image by SpeedbirdHD.

4 Engines 4 Long Haul

Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Atlantic airline famously used this slogan to promote their fleets of A340 and 747 four-engine airliners.  The thinking was that the flying public would be more comfortable crossing the pond with three engines to spare.  Unfortunately, jet fuel prices have raised obscenely over the past two decades (nearly 500%) and twin-engine airliners such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 have proven so reliable, what with their ETOPS (Extended range Twin Operations) ratings, that they have rendered all but the largest four-engine planes uneconomical.  Recently, both Airbus and Boeing have been buying back A340 jets as compensation for new jet deals.  While 747-400s still generally have an afterlife in cargo service (versus the A340) we’ve seen Boeing become the biggest buyer of used 744s recently.  Think of it like Chevy giving “current owner” incentives when you trade in your late-model Silverado pickup for a new model.

The Replacement Players

Recently, United Airlines announced a purchase of 35 Airbus A350-1000 jets.  While some have argued this is a replacement for their aging Boeing 747-400 fleet, I disagree.  The A350-1000 has the range for the routes that the 744 is used on (primarily to Asia and Australia), but it won’t have the capacity.  While it’s hard to know exactly how United will configure the A350, a quick look at the stats gives us some hints.  The A350-1000 is slated to be exactly the same length as the 777-300ER, and will be a tad bit narrower.  American Airlines recently started flying the 773 and in their four-class layout it seats 310 passengers.  United’s 744 seats 376, so best guess is that United’s A350 will be about a 20% capacity drop on high-traffic routes such as San Francisco (SFO) to Hong Kong (HKG).

If United’s new A350-1000s can’t “replace” their 747-400 fleet, what can?  The new 777-9X. Or as I like to call it, the 777 Fiero.

And what about the Airbus A380?  I’m not suggesting that United needs that kind of a capacity boost, but how has the fat kid from Airbus fared?  While firm orders for the A380 have exceeded the 747-8 (even with no freighter variant currently available), Airbus still needs a significant boost in orders to get close to making money on the bird.  Without new orders for either jumbo, the backlog for both will run out at about the same time.

God Save the Queen

The future isn’t all bleak for the 747-8; it does have some things going for it.  Personally, I’m hoping for an order from a certain government customer that has a beautiful blue and white livery.

BONUS: A Look at the First Boeing 747-400s to be Scrapped

The 747-8F is unique as a cargo hauler, with extreme range (especially after the aft tail fuel tank is certified) and an upper-deck cockpit that allows the giant nose to lift open. Unfortunately, the global slump in air cargo has been very untimely; there are sources reporting brand-new planes parked in the desert awaiting customers.  Boeing recently slowed the assembly line from two planes per month to 1.75 to better meet demand.  Right now the program seems to be limping along.

Back to the Future

Boeing has a bit of time to let the global economy continue to recover and see what happens with the 747 line.  At the current production rate of 1.75 planes per month (or 21 planes per year), booked orders will keep the line busy for at least three more years, assuming no additional orders.  Domestically, I don’t think we’ll see any orders from the new American Airlines, who should be well set with their new 777-300ER fleet, but both Delta and United will need to find a true replacement for their 747-400 fleets.  The future of the 747-8I will likely be telegraphed by the 777-X program launch; if we see large orders from current 744 operators, the writing will likely be on the wall.

Your Take?

Why do you think airlines haven’t adopted the 747-8I? Does it have a future?  Let’s hear it!

Blaine Nickeson, Correspondent. Blaine is a Denver-based enthusiast of all things airplanes, airlines, and miles. When he’s not busy planning his next travel adventure, he spends his time working as a college administrator. If he can’t be on an airplane, he’d prefer to be on a bicycle. @bnickeson

42 comments to Does the Boeing 747 Have a Future?

  • Bryan

    I hope that once the economy recoveres, airlines will book more of the 747-8i. The only true measure of success, however, is if a U.S based airline orders several 747-8s. I’m looking at you, United.

    • Rob

      Roger that….the hating on the 747-8i needs to stop.
      DELTA and UNITED need to step up, renew their fleets with this beauty and continue to support US a/c manufacturing.

      As much as I love the 747-400, they are long in the teeth and I’d really rather fly the 777 or 747-8 over any Airbus wide body.

  • Bernie Leighton

    The 747-8 is in a bit of a bad place regardless of whether or not the economy improves. The unfortunate fact, and something that was constantly drilled into my head in university, is that when chasing higher yields it makes more sense to sacrifice capacity in the name of frequency. Business customers want choice, and choice they shall be given. Using a smaller aircraft allows routes to be “right-sized” based off of seasonality and demand. If you can fill roughly two-thirds of the premium cabin and not have to worry about a painfully low load factor in economy, chances are with a low enough unit cost- you are going to be generating a higher degree of revenue than a mostly empty 747.

    Cathay Pacific – for example – has, yet again, eschewed a very large aircraft order because the 777-300ER is the perfect aircraft to match a reasonably premium-heavy configuration with the ability to be a “freight train” multiple times a day. I would almost say that the 777 was just too perfect of an airframe for Boeing in that it can do everything, but going forward that will only be better for them and their shareholders.

    The 747-8 may come out ahead of the A380 and future A380 variants in terms of cargo space for LD3 and other Unit Load Devices, but it falls very far behind in terms of passenger capacity on an apples-to-apples configuration. Customers purchase/lease/finance VLAs for very specific routes, most of them to deal with either slot constraints or consistent, extreme, demand. British Airways, for instance, went A380 because many of their routes are not extremely freight-oriented; but instead both O&D and connecting passenger based. LHR, being LHR required them to get the highest individual revenue return per slot. A 747-8 cannot do that compared to an A380.

    The same goes for Emirates and their volume strategy. Most airlines in a position to order the A380 or 747-8 do not have to rely on belly-freight alone, or have a sufficient network in place to ignore the freight disadvantage of the A380. Twenty years ago, the 747-8 would be selling like hotcakes because of that balance, but with the advance of ACMI cargo carriers, dedicated freight arms, freight interlining, and other logistics enhancements- there are no routes left where pax and cargo demand are both the only reason to justify a VLA.

    I suppose what I am trying to say is that the 747-8 falls into a difficult “middle of the road” position. Freight being greater than passenger volume would lead to a 777-X purchase. Passenger numbers not warranting an A380 order but needing the range of the 777-300ER would fall to the lighter A350. Extreme passenger and cargo demand would warrant an A380 to prevent passenger spill to the competition. One can always add a dedicated freighter after the fact or split the freight capacity across multiple daily flights.

    Honestly, the 747-8 is not so much hampered by being a “four-holer”, but by being both too large and too small at the same time.

    I would agree that the Fiero problem does apply to the 747-8 based off of Boeing’s original market positioning for the 747-8 program. The 747-8 was marketed as a Ferrari, it could go anywhere, and do anything. It was everything that a maxed out 777-300ER could not be. It had more passengers than a 777-200LR over the same distance, it could bust ETOPS- it was the total package. To add to that, it could become an integral part of your cargo network, either by purchasing a dedicated freighter or by conversion at a later date. Where I disagree, however, is that while Boeing used aspirational marketing to airlines for the 747-8- they will never kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. The 777 series is extremely cash-flow positive. I prefer to think of the comparison as “well, you can afford a Ferrari- but why not buy a Pagani instead!”. Turns out most airlines preferred the Ferrari.

    Cheers,

    Bernie

    • Paul Woodcock

      Whilst stumbling on this article somewhat late, I do find myself agreeing very much with Bernie. I am British, and was pleased to see British Airways launch services with the A380. No, its not a “sexy” plane, but it is remarkable. When you see one at an airport, it is MASSIVE. When you see it on the runway, it looks way too slow, but suddenly, and relatively quickly and smoothly, it lifts off and glides into the sky. And I DO want Airbus to succeed since I have a personal stake since my brother works at the wings plant in north Wales!

      However, I am not a brand snob. I am not one of those that insist “I will never fly on an Airbus!” or “Boeing sucks!” Both companies make very good planes.

      The 747 revolutionized air travel. It went from the rich elite, to everyone. Led a boom in vacation packages with resorts truly growing. The A380 has not revolutionized travel in the same way, but its sheer bulk allows high capacity, but with a huge amount of flexibility.

      I mean, we now have showers, 4 classes in big numbers, several airlines are offering pretty much full-on cabins! (to the point Singapore is warning people not to try joining the mile high club. You cant be seen, but CAN be heard!) huge TV’s, proper bars, Korean has a proper shop for their duty free, and Etihad is offering cabins with comfy seats, and a separated bench, and if you stump up a bit more, you get a separate bedroom with a butler!

      So, the problem for the 747 now is that it is getting squeezed. Boeing has an excellent airplane with good capacity in its 777, and as jet fuel goes up in price, airlines are looking at twin engined craft, rather than planes like the A340. Which is why its not being built anymore! So, Boeing took the sensible decision to look at redeveloping the 777 and boosting its capacity.

      So, now, the 777-9x has a potential capacity of 407, while the typical 747-8 will seat around 467. Only an extra 60 seats with an extra 2 engines strapped on. Problem is, for the extra 2 engines, an A380 has a stated capacity of 555 in a 3 class layout. A 148 increase over the 777-9x. Also, the 747-8 has a max capacity of 605, while the A380 beats that by over 200! 853.

      So, for airlines, on their high capacity routes between major airports they will look at the A380 to boost capacity. Yes, sales are slow, simply because the plane is so darned big! As airlines such as British Airways begin to retire their 747-400’s, they will look at the A380 if they need more seats, or the likes of the 777-9 or A350-1000 if they are OK with a slight drop in seats, but saving a bucketload on fuel.

      Simply put, the 747 is slowly getting squeezed out. A bit like the 757 and 767. It may be that Boeing can keep it going in its freighter form, but not as a passenger jet. Boeing will have to surrender the super-large crown to Airbus for a while. But business is not dead! The 777 is still a fantastic jet!

  • Matt

    As United has clearly stated that they are eschewing an international first class cabin “so far” on new orders, I would assume a properly equipped, three class A350-1000 would seat 350 passengers(biz, E+, e) and be a viable 747 replacement offering significantly lower operating costs than a 747-8. The same would apply for Delta, but so far they have yet to make significant planning regarding a 744 replacement. In terms of aircraft sold, Airbus has sold 280+ A380’s, and while assumptions say they need to sell 500 to turn a profit, Boeing has yet to sell 50 747-8, so i dont see your point regarding similarity in sales, in fact i would say it is a gross overstatement on behalf of the 747-8. While I would love to see the 747-8 be a successful airplane, I cannot fathom, short of new orders in the next ~2 years, continuing production of the 747 instead of focusing on a 777-9/10X.

  • Bernie Leighton

    Exactly that, Matt!

    That also goes to an unrelated argument I might write an article about when I have some time to go over a whole lot of spreadsheets. That is; what purpose does first class serve in this day and age?

    Is it a competitor to fractional ownership and corporate jet charters? Is it for marketing? Business class arms-racing has benefited everyone to some degree, but at what expense to first.

    Since this is a very challenging and not yet fully understood question- many airlines have chosen to go the safe route and eliminate first in favour of a “super-business”/

    Hence, why United ordered the aircraft for going forward into the future- not the aircraft for the present.

  • Matt

    Bernie,

    I have to wholly agree with your assessment, I cannot fathom the need for international first class in today’s age business class comfort race, especially amongst US carriers.

    I can foresee a role for International First Class among companies that offer a truly unique first class experience, ala Emirates on their A380 (Suites, Showers, etc), Singapore/Cathay due to their Asian-clients who increasingly favor status.

    As an individual who for 5+ years has lived in China and co-operated a relatively small business, I cannot say with any conviction that there is a big difference between United GlobalFirst/BusinessFirst, especially if you are comparing PMCO Bizfirst to PMUA Global First, I “enjoy” PMUA Bizfirst, but eschew it as often as possible in favor of Cathay Pacific, which offers a truly superior business class experience between Asia/China market and US. The most impressive of the US-based carrier products coming out international is AA’s new Biz which are the same seats as Cathay and to a certain extent usair’s envoy, but I think that airlines such as United should focus on a single-elite product, it makes sense in terms of load factors, and does not leave them at a competitive advantage, as they still have a large Western-customer base. If carriers are worried about losing out in a first class race, why not just coin all their business as first, and work on introducing a truly elite “product”. UA’s biggest deficiency is service is generally tolerable, food is tolerable as well, and the only thing that stands out when comparing to competitors is that United generally has really good award availability for Biz/First award tickets, and that fact alone should be a concern for UA’s management going forward. I believe the PMCO product to be far superior to PMUA, even service oriented, and have noticed a decline in food quality and more. Hopefully with the acquisition of larger A350/B787-9/10’s they will try to innovate on their seating ala AA. Time will tell.

    • Paul Woodcock

      Very good point about the fight for passengers for each class. The problem is that airlines need to differentiate each class successfully. The problem is that as the economy bit, passengers who would have flown first class, dropped to business. In order to pick up the new business class passenger, airlines significantly improved their business class offerings. This meant that their first class suffered as the business class offering got closer and closer in standards.

      However, it does not mean that first class is dead. It does prove popular when done right. British Airways first class seat is not that much different from business class. It is larger, and a bit flatter. However, they are differentiated by the level of service.

      Airlines will need to ensure that their business class offering has the value its customers expect, and their first class has the perceived extra value to make it special. And use it where it can bring the most benefit. So, for someone like American, a good first class could be used on flights from JFK to LHR, for example, but its unlikely you will need a first class on runs from JFK to LAX!

  • Blaine Nickeson

    @Bernie – great analysis! Thanks for getting the discussion started!

    @Matt – CX flies a 773 with E/E+/J that seats 340. That’s probably a good comparison, although it is still 10% less than UA’s 744 seats. I also have to imagine cargo capacity is way lower, although I’m not much of a cargo expert.

    Regarding A380 sales/order, based upon current order backlog and build rate, with no new sales, the backlogs between each bird will probably run out about the same time. However, without significant orders, I doubt either the 748 or the A380 is going to be profitable.

    • John-Alan

      According to the Boeing site a 747-400 has a capacity of 30 LD-3 containers, whereas the 777-300 can take 42, so the T7’s cargo capacity is in fact larger, which makes sense if you think about it. We’re talking about belly cargo here, which is shipped in addition to the passenger’s luggage. Obviously if you have more underfloor volume, than you will have more cargo capacity, so the T7 will win out (it’s longer and only has 1 deck, so more belly volume per pax).

      As for the VLA market, it seems that Boeing has won the demand for the cargo planes, and Airbus has won the race for the passenger planes (barring a couple of airlines that have ordered both the 747-8 and the A380 and some rich people / governments).

  • JP

    I found your article very intriguing.

    I recently visited the Boeing Everett plant and we got to see the assembly lines for the 777, 787, and the 747-8. While the previous two product lines were proudly displaying the aircraft number for their commercial airlines, the five aircraft being assembled on the dash-8 line were entirely the freighter variant. I did find this a bit disconcerting since, as your article points out, the 747 has been the most popular wide-body long-range airliner in commercial aviation.

    I asked our tour guide, whom I assumed worked on the assembly line at one point in his career, about the lack of the dash-8 passenger variant. He said that given the fast production rate, the passenger variant is made to order. And at present, the backlog is entirely for freighters.

    To use yet another automotive metaphor, I would consider the 747 to be more like the Ford Mustang. It was an aging brand that was in dire need of a “reboot.” Enter the 2005 Mustang and the re-birth of the ‘muscle car.’ 2011 gave way to not only the 4.0 V8, but the more fuel efficient V6 model.

    I firmly think the 747 will always have a permanent place in the Boeing product line. After all, the Everett factory was specifically built to handle the massive assembly process. Until the twin-engine wide-bodies can carry similar passenger loads, I think the ‘queen’ is here to stay.

    Look at Queen Elizabeth II

  • ted

    748 cockpit look old…boeing should put 787 cockpit into 748…

  • RDH

    Sorry to say this but your Fiero analogy is quite misleading. This Pontiac sports car made quite a splash when it came out in the 1980s but was meant to be a bigger seller (and profit maker) more than the Corvette. GM never invested enough to improve or refine it, and its incessant bad handling and subpar engineering sped up its demise when the novelty faded. Pontiac could not maintain the annual sales volume and then decided to nix it when the losses were too great. The Toyota MR2 and Mazda Miata still remained popular after the Fiero was snuffed out. (Source: Car and Driver Magazine, Motor Trend)

  • FrankV

    I love the photo you used to illustrate this article.

    The 474 8i would make a handsome twin…..too bad they can’t take a couple of those huge GEs and hang them on the wing.

    Maybe someone at one of the fake airliner sites can create one.

  • Gennadius

    With the brouhaha surrounding the ASA ruling in the entertaining but silly (on both sides) ads, this type of discussion has come up all over the place. I’ve mentioned this a couple of other places, but I think it should be mentioned here as well.

    There is an Aviation Week that covers the ruling: http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_08_06_2013_p0-604361.xml

    On the second page, it has a quote that I found interesting.

    “However, one airline industry source with detailed inside knowledge of performance data for both aircraft on comparable routes and layout standards says there is hardly any unit cost difference between the 747-8 and the A380. Even so, that data does suggest a trip cost advantage for Boeing in excess of 20%, the official says. Unlike the unit cost figures, which appear to be off for both the Boeing and Airbus claims, the trip cost level would be relatively close to what Boeing markets for its largest aircraft.”

    If that is accurate, then those numbers would only improve with the addition of the upcoming PIP and other changes for the aircraft, correct?

    With the known deficiencies in the early frames for the 747-8, perhaps there are some airlines that have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for more hard data like this as well as for the upgrades and improvements that they know are coming, including the engine PIP.

    Factoring that in, it is possible that the 747-8i continues to find a niche going forward.

  • RHHastings

    Maybe the -8i isn’t suppose to be a big seller?

    We can recall Boeing decided against a new double deck super jumbo placing focus on smaller airliners and a smaller investment in the B747.

    Is it possible the -8i was a ruse encouraging the A380? The industry knew the VLA market was small; and, as commenter, Bernie Leighton noted, customers want choice and frequency VLA’s usually don’t fulfill.

    Maybe us B747 fans will be lucky and the world economies will change in its favor. If not, the iconic passenger carrying Queen of the skies has served its last purpose.

  • Monnides

    I believe there is a future for the B-747-8i for the following reasons:

    1) it has 4 engines, and a lot of people like myself do not like to cross the Atlantic or the Pacific on 2 engines regardless of the ETOPS. The A-340 is no longer produced so what is left with 4 engines are A-380 and B-747.Public pressure………..

    2) There are 60 seats difference between the proposed B-777-9X and the B-747-8, airlines can justify a larger plane but not as large as the A-380.

    3) Airlines like United, Delta, BA, Cathy Pacific, KLM, Qantas, Thai for example will need to replace their old 747-400 and the B-777-9X might not be big enough and the A-380 is too big. Lufthansa has both the B-747-8i and the A-380 which by the way was built just to beat the American with the largest passenger plane. Although they will not make money but who cares European will pay the bill anyway.

    • Moho

      “Although they will not make money but who cares European will pay the bill anyway.” Companies who did order and will do order will pay it. Recall: when USA need money, they will just print or they will simply cause some war. You can’t be reconciled with loosing top position is some area.

  • Dave

    The A380 has all the qualities many don’t like about the 747. It’s big, it’s a 4-holer, and it likes gas. Let’s be frank, Airbus priced them cheap to get the widebody business, and the EU governments put pressure on International carriers to buy the airplane to get slots in Europe.

    The 747-8i is a great aircraft, however Boeing isn’t willing to sacrifice 777 sales to support it. Boeing is competing with themselves. The 777-300 can fly the missions of the 747-400 and is a great replacement airplane. Sales prove it.

    If Boeing priced airplanes like Airbus, no one would buy the European built bird.

  • Apt comparison to american cars, heavy, outdated, inefficient. However, if you’re comparing in terms of looks, the most beautiful airliner of all times is the Concorde by miles of altitude above the rest in the field!

  • JC

    Kudos to United and Delta for still having the 747s in their fleet among the US carriers. (I love the Delta livery in 747s BTW)
    Anyway, Boeing should get help from the US Govt to require the US carriers to order 747-8i. :p

    As for my country’s carrier, Philippine Airlines, I hope they order some 747-8s once CAT II is lifted.

    For Boeing, IMHO, they should fix the Dreamliner problems first and stop churning out new airplanes like 787-10 and 777X. They should also push for more sales with the airlines, have more dialogue with the airlines like they used to do.

  • Avatar Airlines and those that follow with a similar business plan may be the future of the 747. I believe I will prove this aircraft can’t be beat for short hauls (as little as 200 miles) with high load factors.

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  • Pat Hurley

    Here’s hoping that Delta will replace their 747-4’s with 15-20 747-8i’s sooner than later. Great capacity + great range + proven reliability + greatly improved efficiency = right choice. DO IT, Delta!

  • syed haider zaidi

    Still 747(8i) is of that calibre,Who so ever Airline will order or keep,will pay it Off!Even after the success of 777 (ETOPS),people still have this 4 engine psychology and have a mental comfort.Even the fact that 777s GE 90-115B have much and more power thrust!

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  • thomas85225

    The 747 was Boeing entry into the united force cargo C-5 RFP in 1961 as the CX-X and Heavy Logistics System that Lockheed won with the C-5 Galaxy

    http://airchive.com/html/museums/boeing-archives-bellevue-washington-usa/boeing-cx-hls-model-196364/19149

    In 1997 Boeing did not build the Double Decker 747-500 and -600
    The commercial market for C-17 is be not being offer by Boeing, the Russia is reopening the An-124 line for over size cargo

    Since 1998 Airbus has taken 304 orders and delivery 122 A-380
    Since 2005 Airbus has taken 843 orders for the A-350 that will delivery in 2016
    Boeing in 2013 has taken 259 orders for the 777-X that will be delivery in 2020

    Boeing has sold 694 747-400 that are now coming out service that where assembly from 1984 to 2007

    The 747-8 has sold 119 aircraft’s , including 68 of the freighter version, and 51 of the passenger version. and 64 delivery the 747-8 only has 35% commonality with 747-400

    Boeing 747-8 (787-8) does not meet perform guarantee

    Boeing Continues To Bolster 747-8’s Performance
    http://www.ainonline.com

    Jul 11, 2012 – Lukewarm market reception and performance deficiencies that continue to fall short … for this point in time, as engineers work toward meeting all performance guarantees in 2014. … The 747-8 Freighter does not use the tanks.
    Boeing To Meet 747-8 Guarantees “In a Year or Two” | Aviation …
    http://www.ainonline.com › AIN Air Transport Perspective › May 21, 2012‎

    and 747-8 and 787-8 must stay from lightning storm

    The 747-8 was started in 2005 only 64 aircraft has been delivery to date and sell has falling off for the aircraft
    The program is 2.04 Billions over budgets, overweight causing the tail tank to be cap off

    Boeing is laying off its workforce and has sold off its Manufacturing Capabilities to other aircraft companies
    40% of Boeing workforce will be retiring over the next five years
    Boeing has yet to modernize its factories with automation to meet the world need of 35,000 new aircraft over the next twenty years see:

    Boeing The Current Market Outlook see
    http://www.boeing.com/boeing/commercial/cmo/

    Airbus Global Market Forecast 2012-2031 see
    http://www.airbus.com/company/market/forecast/

    Average Fleet Age for Selected Airlines see
    http://www.airsafe.com/events/airlines/fleetage.htm

    The Boeing product line is out dated the 747 was design in 1961, 737 in 1966, 757 & 767 in 1972, 777 in 1989, 737NG in 1997, 787 in 2003, 777-X 2013

    Boeing has offer an update 777 before, the 777-100 & combo at the Pair Air shown in 1995 and the 777-X twice before (Boeing did not build the double Decker 747-500 & -500 in 1997 or the Sonic Cruiser or the X-48- 797 BWB)

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19950612&slug=2125990

    The sea land shipper are under cutting the market for air cargo market
    siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTAIRTRANSPORT/…/air_cargo_study.p.

    Air India has decided to sell five out of its eight Boeing 777-200LR aircraft owing to changes in market dynamics due to global recession, steep increase in fuel prices and poor yields on non-stop routes,

  • MT

    I wonder if this 747-800 would have a better outlook in its future if it were redesigned to be a tri-jet. Perhaps a tri-hectic version would be operationally viable versus a 777 when you consider it’s much larger seating capacity.

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  • I think the 747-8 just won’t make it in the long run because airlines want 2 engine aircraft. The 2 engine jets are more fuel efficient. The 737 and the 787 are the jets airlines want to buy

  • The 747 is just not fuel efficient enough. The jets airlines really want to buy are jets that have 2 engines and are fuel efficient like the 737 and the 787 in todays market

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  • rsal

    B747-400 is a great plane, it is safer, wider and more comfortable than any other plane. I am sure B747-8i is much better in all aspects than B747-400. I wish all planes should be provided with at least 3 motors not 2, I don’t feel safe when I am flying 2 engines planes
    No doubt, there will be a future for B747-8i soon.
    I like to see this bird flying all over the world like B747-400

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  • amjad

    why did boeing produce 747-8 when it introduced twin engine long haul aircrafts like 777 and 787 ?? i am a big fan of 747 for many reasons : smooth flight, beauty of form and its majesty. I truly believe that theres no aircraft like 7

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