First 747-8I rolled out

Boeing rolled out the first 747-8I Sunday (Feb. 13) in pomp and ceremonies that were foregone with the rollout a few years ago of the freighter version.

Here is some of the news coverage:

Seattle Times

Seattle PI

Airlines and Destinations

At a major press event Saturday, attended by some 80 global print and broadcast media, officials touted the 747’s fuel efficiencies compared with previous 747 models and, of course, against the Airbus A380. Airbus and Boeing have been having a running battle for years over which airplane is more efficient; Aubrey Cohen of The Seattle PI discusses this in his article above, which includes a link to a piece we did a year ago citing Lufthansa and Emirates figures which favored Airbus.

At the press conference, LH’s EVP of fleet, Nico Buchholz was asked by Cohen which airplane was more fuel efficient and Buchholz, mindful of his guests, neatly dodged the question, saying only theA380 and 747-8 were “very close.”

Setting aside the rivalries between the A380 and 747, Boeing built the -8 with cockpit commonality to other Boeing airplanes in mind. The following training transition times apply for the “differences training:”

  • 747-400 (744) to 747-8 (748): three days;
  • 748 to 787-8 (788): six days;
  • 788 to 748: nine days;
  • 748 to 777: eight days; and
  • 777 to 748: 11 days.

The flight deck is a significant upgrade from the 744 and the 748 used fly-by-wire to the ailerons and spoilers. This system also is part of the solution to the vibration that received so many headlines last year in flight testing for the 748F. According to officials Saturday, the vibration amounted to only one inch of movement at the wingtips and would not have been identified by airline pilots in normal operations; only instrumentation in abnormal flight test configuration discovered the problem, which officials say is fixed.

The 748 is slightly larger than the 744, but enough to require approval from ICAO for 744-type flight separation for landing. This is pending; for the moment, the 748 requires greater separation between it and the following airplane in the landing pattern.

Officials are “optimistic” for landing more orders for the -8I and the -8F now that the global economy is improving and as the airplanes near entry-into-service this year and next. Lufthansa Airlines plans to put the -8I into service in the first quarter next year. Boeing acknowledges the flight testing schedule is “aggressive” but achievable, absent the unknown-unknowns that have bedeviled the 787 and 747-8F flight testing programs. Officials acknowledged the 747 model had not spent enough time in wind tunnel testing, thus failing to reveal vibrations and other aerodynamic issues that did not emerge until flight tests of the real airplane.

55 Comments on “First 747-8I rolled out

  1. Hopefully Boeing can get a flight test program for the B-747-8I that learned from problems found on the B-747-8F and the B-787-8. I would like to see some more orders for the “Queen of the Sky”.

    I might point out that fuel burn comparisons between the A-388 and B-748 may not be the issue some think it will be. The flight testing will confirm, or change (positively or negitively) fuel consumption projections.

  2. She is beautiful, looking much more like her Great Great Grandmother (of all Boeing commerical jets) the B-367-80. Yes, the colors are not dark red and off yellow cream color of the -80, but it is much more destintive than Boeing’s usual livery of shades of blue over white.

  3. Was it me, or was Albaugh getting emotional during his speech?

    Anyway, congratulations to Boeing. It’s their nicest looking aircraft and I thought the livery was pretty good as it accentuates the graceful nose of the aircraft.

    However, I was not too impressed with the music and with Shanahan and all those other folks waving with those “glowing” sticks. Perhaps a flash mob dance would have been better; you know, something like this: 🙂

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3gEHRENCHc&w=640&h=390]

  4. The 747-8F is and will be the most efficient and only new freighter aircraft in the world for many years to come, but the availability of many used and low cost 747-400s for conversion to freighters, will hamper new 747-8F sales for some time to come.
    The 747-8I, however, will be facing three major dis-advantages v.v. the A380, which may never be overcome and will thus severely hamper the total number of 747-8 sales, for the following principle reasons:
    1) The 747-8, a much improved version of the
    venerable and most successful 747 family of wide
    body aircraft built during the past halve century, was
    launched AFTER the A380 and was thus too late to
    prevent the 747-8I from establishing itself on the
    major long rang intercontinental routes, by major
    world airlines.
    2) The 747-8I and A380, have about the same seat mile
    cost, but this will only improve with the A380STR to
    be launched within the next few years, while the
    image already established with the A380 among the
    flying public, as well as the third major factor below,
    may severely hamper 474-8I sales.
    3) Congestion, one of the major factors which motivated
    Airbus and many major carriers to start studying this
    very large aircraft in the mid ’90s, turned out to be a
    much more serious factor today, than it was when
    they started their studies, especially in the Pacific
    region.
    Boeing, shortsightedly, refused to accept congestion
    as a valid reason to look at much larger aircraft than
    the 747, for the next 50 years of this century, with
    all the negative consequences for the otherwise fine
    747-8I program during the first halve of this century!
    P.S.
    Unless Boeing menages to get the BWB program going soon, which appears less likely, now that they submitted the 767 for the US Air Force T/T competition, I am afraid that Boeing, in the case of the 747 v.v. the A380, again and unnecessarily, underestimated Airbus’s determination to compete with Boeing in every category of aircraft size and in the process, may have also lost a major portion of the 747 replacement market to Airbus.

  5. Right now there are just two aircraft that are true B-744 replacements, the B-77W and B-748. The A-388, while it has replaced some retired B-747s is really a 50-100 seat jump in size over the B-744. Thus it is the biggest aircraft available in the VLA class.

    The two airlines that have ordered the B-748 so far (LH and KE) are also A-388 customers and will use each model for different reasons. IIRC, there are about 33 B-748s on firm order, 20 for LH, 5 for KE, and 8 for BBJ-VIP customers. There are also another 25, or so, on options from LH and KE. The total order book for the B-748, both the “F” and “I” come out to 103 firm and 35 optioned aircraft, IIRC. In contrast the A-380 has sold just over 100 more airframes at about 240 firm and options. The A-380 has been offered for sale almost twice as long as the B-748 has.

    In the near future, the A-350-1000 and the B-777-300ER-NG may prove to be a VLA replacement fo both the older B-747s and A-380s. We have not yet even talked about the expensive airport airfield and terminal construction needed by the A-380, which is currenly limited to about 75 airports worldwide. All models of the B-747, including the B-748 can currently use some 350 airports worldwide.

    The BWB is a whole new concept proposal that may not ever be offered as an airliner. Who wants to be sitting near the outer wings with all the manuvering an airliner does. Also there is the question of where to place the windows.

      • How many of those A-380s have a realistic chance of ever being built for their original customers? Do you think IT will ever take any of the 5 firm and 5 options they have? What about the 840 seat A-380s (2) UU has on order? VS seems so sure about the A-380 order (6 firm and 6 options), they keep pushing them back to a later delivery date. We will see if TG takes any of their 6 on order. Does anyone really think EK will really take all 90 A-380s they have on order? FedEx, ILFC, and UPS all cancelked their total orders for 25 A-380Fs, and EK converted it order of 2 A-380Fs to pax jets long ago.

        Even firm orders are not firm untilo the final check from the customer airline is cashed.

        Don’t get me wrong, the B-747-8F has also had several cancelations. But I don’t think the B-747-8I has had any, yet.

        • Begin of lifetime versus end of lifetime:
          The A380 has much more of a future than any current passenger 747.

          For a disruptive wayside product the 747-8* has morphed into a very
          expensive resourcehugger for Boeing. The original proposition was KISS, wasn’t it?
          One view is that the 747-8 has lost resources to the Dreamliner.
          The other view could well be that the 747-8 has choked the 787.

        • Airbus cheerleader ?

          The journalism scene covers the full range from impartial industry reporting to
          just being a amplifier for Boeing pressreleases.
          I have yet to find balance over to the Airbus side of sidedness. ( OK, I don’t know anything about french lang aerospace news 😉

  6. This kind of show with all these superlatives (“incredible” and so on) looks boring (I could say arrogant). Always the same typical vocubulary from american managers : “commited”, “focused”, “dedicated”, “hard work”. OK, OK, we know that by heart. From the mouth of Pat Shanahan who was not so brilliant when he was the 787 project leader, it sounds a bit weird. And this “aggressive” schedule, we know what it means : “too optimistic”.
    It’s time to wake up in Seattle and to stop talking too much (and teasing with FUDs like the 797, the 787-10 and 777NG) : Airbus builds more airplanes and bigger airplanes than Boeing does. And that’s not “incredible”, it’s just because there are “very dedicated and focused” people who “hard work” in Europe as well.
    The situation can change. Boeing just needs to do what Bill Allen did for the 747-100 : put a lot of money in R&D, take risk, and have confidence in its own workers.

  7. Elegant machine it its red livery. A bit like a cruiseliner.

    Unfortunately, it’s a something of a dead horse. I’m curious how airframers decide when an update will revive a previously successful but flagging product line and when it merely confirms that the market has moved on.

    We have seen examples of both: 737 and the 777 were revitalised. The A320 NEO might be – we don’t know yet. However, the A340-600 was the very worst mistake Airbus ever made, in my view. It was incapable of competing against the 777 and Airbus should have known that. They were extremely lucky that Boeing messed up the 787 project or the A350 would hardly stand a chance. The 767-400 was another example and I’m afraid the 747-8 looks to be the same.

    • Red looks good. ( imho better than that watered down blue )

      A340-600 targeted the 747-400. The GE-90-115 “perfect hit” came later.
      The 777 linked Etops extensions would not have happened for an Airbus
      product. In that respect Airbus must lead Boeing from behind 😉

      Birdy: spend lots of money…
      Afaics Boeing did just that ( though not really on effective R&D )
      with (a lot?) less gain than was expected.
      ( How does the initial 747 and the 787 compare developement cost wise
      in adjusted dollars ?)

  8. The B-747-8 design is really nice, the aircraft is a beauty.
    But I don’t see the point of those deeply denticulated jet engine nozzles.
    How could such an exaggeration be superior to the classic clear-cut design ?
    It looks a bit comic-strip-like, resembling Batman’s batmobile (or rather batjet).

  9. The fuel discussion: Boeing usually takes trip fuel (which is of course lower) or seat fuel of the 467-seat reference layout. The A380 was originally marketed with 555 seats, later corrected to 525 seats. Turns out, airlines install huge business classes.
    The B747-8I in LH service will have 368 seats (100 less than reference layout), which is actually less than most B747-400 have. Their A380 does have 520 seats (5 less than reference layout), 420 of which are economy.

    So, although any technical guy will know the difference comes from the chosen layout of the operator, the B747-8I will perform much worse when it comes to fuel per ASK, at least in LH service. I guess LH has an agreement with Boeing not to mention anything about it.

    • About a year ago Lufthansa said they expect their A380 to perform slightly better than their 747-8i ( obviously by brochure values at that time ) 3.0l versus .3.1l per seat i.e. ~3% better. The A380 carries 15% more structural weight per seat in the respective layouts while the -8i is a final optimising stretch.
      Lufthansa seems to be one of the few airlines that take some care to have good size granularity across their fleet.

      • Question is if and how they factored in the cabin layout. If the B747-8I has a 0.1l higher fuel consumption at with 150 PAX less (instead of the 50 less as in the reference layouts), I stand corrected and hail the B747-8I as the most efficient aircraft in the market. However, purchase decisions by airlines (that continuously cry over fuel prices) tell a different language.

        • LH is a German company. They will compare apples to apples i.e. their
          individual comparable lean setups. Mr Venia elsewhere tried to compare
          A380 “lean” seating to an AF 777 sardine can setup totally taken by
          the 777 seat fuel (2.4l) besting the A380 @ 3.0l ( and 526 pax ).
          Extrapolating seat fuel for an Air Austral A380 at 850 pax results
          in ~1.86l. You could sell that as VW 😉

  10. KC135TopBoom writes: “I would like to see some more orders …”
    I agree, this remains a major concern. The last numbers I recall: 33 firm orders for the 747-8i and 74 firm orders for the 747-8F, in total 107 firm orders since 2005.
    In 2008 and 2010, there were NO new orders added during the whole year.
    I don’t know how many aircraft Boeing has to sell to amortize development costs of the 747-8 series. But it must be a huge number, as already the cost overruns of the 747-8 development weigh in with $2 billion.

  11. Uwe :Begin of lifetime versus end of lifetime:The A380 has much more of a future than any current passenger 747.
    For a disruptive wayside product the 747-8* has morphed into a veryexpensive resourcehugger for Boeing. The original proposition was KISS, wasn’t it?One view is that the 747-8 has lost resources to the Dreamliner.The other view could well be that the 747-8 has choked the 787.

    Well, to date the B-747 has out lived the L-1011, DC-10, A-300, A-310, and MD-11. It has bee around much longer than any other WB aircraft, including its sister Boeing jets.

    Do you think the A-380 will have a 40 + year production run?

    • Airbus has bet on it having that kind of life as a line. Remember also that the A380-800 is the baby of the planned family and some airlines are already calling on them to start on the -900 (which won’t be happening for a few years yet).

      Barring the much talked about BWB, I do believe the A380 does have the ability for such longevity.
      Oh and on the matter of the BWB, I have noticed that people keep mentioning customer comfort issues as blocking points for a BWB but I believe the major issue is emergency evacuation.

  12. Huge is relative. Let’s speculate that development cost including delay penalties and accrued interest is $4bn. They have sold 107 of these, which at list brings in about $33bn, but more likely $25bn. If the margin for the first 107 is on average 5% (which I would think is on the low side), that would cover $1.25bn or thereabouts. If they sell another 100 with lower discounts and at a margin of 10%, they’d get in another 2.5bn, at which point they’d have repaid most of the development cost. So even on the back of an envelope, somewhere between 200-250 should be breakeven, not counting ancillary programme revenue over the lifetime. It’s probably twice as much as they expected it to be, i.e. I would think Boeing was hoping to make money on the 107 they have now sold.

    And of course, selling another 120 of them may never happen, which is why ‘huge’ maybe an appropriate term in this case, while for the A320 or 737 120 are the numbers you get on a good month’s work.

    • LH seems to have bought their -8i at about 50..55% of list price
      in some kind of compensation deal for nondelivery of some past
      connectivity solution by Boeing.
      The freighter in combination with new engines is a viable product.

      This showcases that most of the economic progress made in the last
      decades are centered around engine sfc gains.
      Though comparing A380 versus 747 Airbus must have done something right
      on their side of construction too. 15% heavier airframe has better per seat
      sfc than a 747 with later gen engines 😉

      • Well if Boeing had to pay the compensation in any case, then it’s a case of making lemonade from the lemons they grew – Connectivity. In other words they are better off wrapping the compensation into a sold plane, rather than paying it out in cash. Assuming of course that the 748i programme as a whole will not lose more money this way (with low sales) then it would have done with a programme cancellation, had the LH deal not happened.

  13. Do you think the A-380 will have a 40 + year production run?

    Why wouldn’t it? If it is modernised three times, twice significantly, I can see no reason why not.

  14. With some apologies this is a tad Churchillian…

    Never in the course of aviation history has so much been expected so late in a twin decks developement from so few orders.

    A bold Boeing decision but I fear untimely in attempting to regain the VLA & the new ULA sector, It’s certain Boeings champion customerss would have more willingly bought into all new design.

  15. Uwe;

    “LH seems to have bought their -8i at about 50..55% of list price
    in some kind of compensation deal for nondelivery of some past
    connectivity solution by Boeing.”

    How do you know that? If you have proof, please share it with us.

    Andreas :

    Do you think the A-380 will have a 40 + year production run?

    Why wouldn’t it? If it is modernised three times, twice significantly, I can see no reason why not.

    Well, Airbus has already scrapped the A-380F idea (it only had 17 orders to begin with), and they are dragging their feet on the A-380-900 model.

    Yes, Airbus does update their airplanes, they always have (as have Boeing, except for the B-717).

    A-300, four models, B-2, B-4, -600R, -600F
    A-310, two models, -200, -300
    A-32X, three models, -100, -200, NEO (4 versions, A-318, A-319, A-320, A-321)
    A-330, three models, -300, -200, -200F (not counting military versions)
    A-340, four models, -200, -300, -500, -600
    A-350, four models, -900, -800, -1000, -900F
    A-380, one model (currently), -800

    The only Airbus model that comes close to being in production (to date) is the A-300 series, first produced in 1974, and last produced in 2007, 33 years. In that 33 years, only 561 were built.

    The B-747 has been in production since 1969, 42 years and counting. It has been produced in 6 versions, not including the -200F or -400F/ERF, or military versions. There have been 1,418 ‘units’ built from 1969 through Sept. 2010.

    • Hmm, I am not your Google and sure you follow the range of publications
      as everyone else here does.
      A tip: you will have to go through Jon Ostrowers work 😉

      Buquet of models, lifetime:
      What would you like to tell us with your enumeration?
      ( A340/A330 happens to be one line type that incorporates twins and quads.)
      You seem in the process of comparing a monopolistic market setup and
      resultant product lifecycles with a situation were competitors actually
      have to compete with their products.
      Long lifecycles are indicative of a market without much innovation. A sellers market.
      IMHO significant is to compare production numbers for historic and current airframers over time and the rate of change introduced by select participants
      while others are unwillingly herded along their path of halfhearted upgrades
      to existing models of an aera gone by.

    • Boeing has been building bigger and bigger versions ever since, the most recent serving with the airlines is the 747-400. The first 747-100 went into service with Pan Am in 1970. “This starts with the shape of our father’s 747, and from there everything else is new,” says Elizabeth Lund, Boeing’s V.P. for the 747 program. “We’ve got a new wing, we’ve got new systems and the best for the flying passenger, we’ve got a brand new interior.”

      http://www.king5.com/home/Big-rollout-today-for-Boeing-116114634.html

      If the “only” thing the 748I has in common with the dash 100 is the shape of the aircraft, then surely one could argue that the A300 lives on in the A330, and count the A300, A310, A330 and A340 as one family with nearly 2000 deliveries.

    • Well, Airbus has already scrapped the A-380F idea (it only had 17 orders to begin with), and they are dragging their feet on the A-380-900 model.

      The A380 has been delivered for considerably less than four years, and they still sort out the desaster of their production line, and the plane is delivering what it was supposed to. It is not really normal to update so quickly unless the plane has significant shortcomings and can not find customers. The A380 does not have such shortcomings, and is still selling. Ordinary PIP is planned from 2012 onwards. So I can not see anyone ‘dragging their feet’. If they don’t do a -900 by 2020, I’d be tempted to agree with you. But if it is your view that Airbus are dragging their feet, maybe you can point us to some quote by an Airbus representative that confirms that?

  16. Uwe;

    “Hmm, I am not your Google and sure you follow the range of publications
    as everyone else here does.
    A tip: you will have to go through Jon Ostrowers work”

    So you cannot prove it, or provide a link? That’s what I thought.

  17. It just kills me how the A crowd just loves to beat up on the 748 – “End of Life”, “Loser”, “Won’t Sell” and claim the 380 will take the entire VLA market as it is so much better, but the freighter is the queen of the skies (well the 777F is crowding in. Shouldn’t this crowd just love that Boeing might have a “slow seller” and that Boeing’s gambit might take a good bit of hide out of Boeing. Becoming weaker would help Airbus.

    Are they just frustrated that the 748 is competition that caps the A380 profitability? Are they afraid that the 748 might actually sell decently, even 20% of the pax VLA market would bring it home, coupled with the freighters. Even producing the current orders prevent it from being a failure. Selling 150 more brings it to the low end of the original projections. Not even the biggest B cheerleader thought it would dominate the VLA market.

    The 340-5 & 6 update was a bunch of cash, and it didn’t seem to be a big seller.

    • You seem to be taking certain things rather personally.
      Would you not agree, that the 747 is pretty well at the end of its line?
      The -8 was only trotted out in the hopes of killing a couple of A380 sales (since the only two -8 customers are also A380 customers, I would see that as a strategy that has failed) at a cheap developement price. You mentioned that selling another 150 would bring it to the low end of the original predicitions but weren’t those original predictions based on alot less developement funding? Would that not make this a “loser”? Yes, agreed, this program is only beginning and to dtermine that it is a loser is definitely premature. But is it not in a “forward loss” position at this point? As for not selling, obviously it has 2 customers so it has sold, so the question is, whatt is meant by “won’t sell”? Are you claiming that the -8 is selling well?

      I don’t see anybody denegrating the 747 family in itself. How could one with the long and illustrious story that it has. The -8 is also a very nice looking aircraft and I haven’t seen anybody here write anything to the contrary.

      Note also that all the talk is about the pax version. The freighter version has certainly won the competition. Especially since there is not competition.

      Perhaps some people do not speak of the 747-8 with the respect you believe it deserves. Has the A380 ever gotten any respect from the Boeing partisans?

    • Jay Kitsap :It just kills me how the A crowd just loves to beat up on the 748 – “End of Life”, “Loser”, “Won’t Sell” and claim the 380 will take the entire VLA market as it is so much better, but the freighter is the queen of the skies (well the 777F is crowding in. Shouldn’t this crowd just love that Boeing might have a “slow seller” and that Boeing’s gambit might take a good bit of hide out of Boeing. Becoming weaker would help Airbus.
      Are they just frustrated that the 748 is competition that caps the A380 profitability? Are they afraid that the 748 might actually sell decently, even 20% of the pax VLA market would bring it home, coupled with the freighters. Even producing the current orders prevent it from being a failure. Selling 150 more brings it to the low end of the original projections. Not even the biggest B cheerleader thought it would dominate the VLA market.
      The 340-5 & 6 update was a bunch of cash, and it didn’t seem to be a big seller.

      Not sure why you get so worked up about people calling a spade a spade. And no, according to Boeing, just producing the current orders will not prevent it from being a failure. The programme is as of today in a forward loss position, according to the manufacturer, who should know. So someone else will need to order more planes for it to stop being a failure. Same for the A345/6 (and there the stable-door is closed), and the A380. Current market share of the pax VLA market is 12%. Good to see for Boeing that they have at least that, since it is a beautyful plane, and I hope they’ll sell more. But it really can not be what they expected or planned for.

      • Sorry, in fact the reality is even more dismal for Boeing, unfortunately. Excluding VIP orders (8 for the 748i and 1 for the A380), their marketshare of the airline clients for pax VLA is 9.5%. I cannot for a second imagine that when the Board agreed to the programme that the market-share slide said ‘We are aiming to capture less than 10% of the market for pax VLA’.

      • He,
        Form follows function, form following function well is beauty.
        If an efficient design appears as ugly reeducation needs to be applied 😉

        That said, I still have the 747 presentation A0 poster from “Hobby” bought in 1969 in my stash of memorables.

  18. Schorsch :Question is if and how they factored in the cabin layout. If the B747-8I has a 0.1l higher fuel consumption at with 150 PAX less (instead of the 50 less as in the reference layouts), I stand corrected and hail the B747-8I as the most efficient aircraft in the market. However, purchase decisions by airlines (that continuously cry over fuel prices) tell a different language.

    The number will have been based on the original idea for configuration, which was IIRC 412. 386 is about a 6.5% reduction in passenger numbers. Expect fuel burn to increase proportionally to about 3.3l/100km /seat, or about 10% worse than the A380, unless Boeing manages to exceed expectations. But since they need a PIP to get the engine to target they may not be able to do so, and Buchholz’ comments ‘it can do every mission we want it to’ sound a bit defensive.

    • Pre PIP sfc was said to be 2..3% off from design targets.
      No detail was given for what the PIP will achieve.
      Mention of 8t (4% of OEW ) overweight is made.
      No idea about the truth of that. The materialisation
      of MTOW increases should give some hint there.

  19. Going back to this old post:

    http://leehamnews.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/747-8-vs-a380-costs-airlines-weigh-in/

    Let’s redo the Boeing numbers for 386 compared to 525.

    Fuel burn per trip obviously won’t change from what’s claimed: Airbus +32%

    Fuel burn per seat for 386 seats however…

    Original seat increase A380/B748 = +19% (555/467)

    Actual seat increase A380/B748 = +35% (520/386)

    Fuel burn delta A380/B748 per seat original = +10%

    I probably will get my numbers wrong, but based on realistic configurations and the 6,000 nmi mission used by Boeing, the 748i will burn +1.6% compared to a 416 seat 744, and -7.7% compared to a 378 seat 744 (LH highest density config). The 520 seat A380 will burn +3.3% compared to a 416 seat 744, -8.8% compared to a 378 seat 744, and -1.3% (not a typo) compared to a 748i with 386 seats. My calculations maybe off, but they are based on Boeing’s numbers at least. Happy to see someone redo them and improve them. In other words, it is quite clear why the 744 is no longer competitive (as it should be), and there is almost nothing between the 748i and the A380 in terms of fuel burn per seat in actual configurations. Which brings us back to the point Uwe made, that for a plane with older engines and +15% weight to lug around, that’s quite an achievement. It also means that as excess weight goes out of the plane over time, and engines improve, the delta will just make the A380 look better.

  20. Uwe, this is the first I have heard the B-747-8I is 8 some tonnes overweight. I am not challanging you, but am interested in where you heard that, and when.

    On the fuel burn, just raw numbers, without the confusing seat configuerations the B-747-8I has a MTOW around 910,000 lbs**, with more efficent engines, the A-380-800 has a MTOW around 1,200,000 lbs. The B-747 engines have around 68,000 lbs of thrust each, the A-380 engines have around 70,000 + lbs of thrust each. These numbers, the B-747 near 300,000 lbs lighter, and with some 8,000 lbs (or more) less thrust do not add up to the A-380 burning less fuel on a MTOW, max range and payload mission.

    **IIRC, at least one B-747-8F test flight had a MTOW of 1,050,000 lbs, and another some 1,020,000 lbs.

    • 8t : FleetbuzzEd current article comment section ,-)

      fuel burn:
      My impression is that Airbus regularly has the slightly heavier but (much?) more efficient aero setup. ( posted a link to some research work by a NASA contractor that coroborates that a couple of times : “High Lift Devices” )

      By how much do the GenX-1/2B actually best the Trent 900 resp. EA GP7200 ?
      ( by “spec as sold” and in the real world, airliners.net had a really interesting thread on engine design specifica, lightsaber explaining the (engine) world.)

    • I am not saying the A380 burns less fuel on the mission. It clearly won’t, so this is not an issue of debate. It will burn more. The question is how much more.

      But it will burn less on a per seat basis, as I outlined above (unless I calculated wrongly), and while we can ignore that, fleet planners can’t.

  21. Andreas :Which brings us back to the point Uwe made, that for a plane with older engines and +15% weight to lug around, that’s quite an achievement. It also means that as excess weight goes out of the plane over time, and engines improve, the delta will just make the A380 look better.

    The sums are wrong, it is less than 5%.

    For Lufthansa, using their seat counts and the marketing OEWs

    A380 596000 lb OEW 526 seats 1133 lb/seat
    748I 403600 lb OEW 368 seats 1096 lb/seat

    Difference I think will be less than 1% in a real life configuration, not 3% using the marketing OEWs. Aerodynamically the A380 is more efficient than the 747-8, structurally Boeing has not been able to keep its weight targets, partially because of the lack of resources to get the required optimisation.

    Additionally the A380 has the aerodynamic advantage of being able to reach higher cruise levels with is taking them out of the lower level road blocks on busy airways.

    KC135TopBoom :
    Uwe, this is the first I have heard the B-747-8I is 8 some tonnes overweight. I am not challanging you, but am interested in where you heard that, and when.

    It is well known, the reason why Boeing has had to increase the MTOW to keep the range promises. If you go back to the figures released in 2006 and what is available today, you will see the payload/range is not as originally advertised either.

    KC135TopBoom :
    On the fuel burn, just raw numbers, without the confusing seat configuerations the B-747-8I has a MTOW around 910,000 lbs**, with more efficent engines, the A-380-800 has a MTOW around 1,200,000 lbs.

    No one is flying the A380 at MTOW anyway, even on the longest flights being operated by the type, they are not at MTOW. The MTOW mission comparison is not what customers look at, they look at typical city pairs they would operate the type over, with their configuration, with their fuel policy, with seasonal winds and seasonal loads.

    The 747-8I is not that good when up comes under that sort of scrutiny, that is why no airlines has ordered the 747-8I that was not part of a compensation deal (Lufthansa deal was due to the closure of Connexion by Boeing, and Korean was associated with 747-8F/787 delays).

    The GEnx on the 747-8 has missed the guaranteed performance levels, the assumption that it is the “more efficient” engine at this stage are not being achieved in flight testing.

    Fundamentally the 747-8 has other issues as well, for example, the FMC falls over ever 30 minutes, which makes the aircraft unairworthy on routes where redundant long range navigation systems are required.

      • Looks like I took the -8i seatcount from WP: 467/3cl = 1008lb/seat ~= 14% below A380

        • Uwe :
          Looks like I took the -8i seatcount from WP: 467/3cl = 1008lb/seat ~= 14% below A380

          That was never going to happen.

          Lufthansa has a 92″ seat pitch in first, and 60″ in business. The Boeing marketing numbers are based upon 61″ in first and 39″ in business.

          No long haul airline is offering 39″ for business, some offer that for economy+, for example Qantas on the 747 and A380.

          The marketing configuration Boeing uses is not realistic, the “new” seat products does not fit well in the 747, particularly on the upper deck with the sloping walls. They need inefficient special designs.

          Airbus also reduced their seat count on the A380 to 525 seats to take into account realistic seating configurations, Lufthansa has 526 seats installed on their A380s, so that figure is representative of a real world 3 class configuration.

  22. Thanks for the correction.

    Moral of the story is: potential customers are all those who have a claim for damages against Boeing. 😀

  23. ikeman :
    Fundamentally the 747-8 has other issues as well, for example, the FMC falls over ever 30 minutes, which makes the aircraft unairworthy on routes where redundant long range navigation systems are required.

    That true?
    Sitting in for the FAA, I would never accept that for a 2011 product.

    • Apropos:
      Do the similarities to US versus EUR/JAP cars go any further than this ;-?

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