The US Air Force has picked the Boeing 747-8 as the replacement for the 747-200-based Air Force One, reports Bloomberg News. The decision comes as absolutely no surprise.
The first of two 747-8s will be delivered in 2018, Bloomberg reports. The new airplanes won’t enter service until 2023. There are just 36 unfilled orders for the 747-8: 24 for the passenger model and 12 for the freighter. At the current rate of 18/yr, this is two years of backlog. At the reduced rate of 16/yr, this is 2 yrs 3 mos.
Airbus didn’t submit a bid for its A380 to serve as AF One, something that was probably considered such a remote possibility of being selected that it wasn’t worth its time. It will compete on systems, however.
Boeing hopes to sell the 747-8I to Turkish Airlines, which is considering a widebody order to be decided this year. The 747-8 is against the Airbus A380, with a quantity of 10 under consideration. Boeing is also offering a combination of 777-300ERs and 777Xs in lieu of the 747-8.
Absent an order from Turkish, or any others, we now see Boeing announcing an end to the 747-8 perhaps as early as this year, effective with the delivery of the two 747-8s to the USAF.