The Boeing 747-8 Family

The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and 747-8 Freighter are the new, high-capacity 747s that offer airlines the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large passenger or freighter airplane—while providing enhanced environmental performance.

This latest family of 747 jetliners meets airline requirements for a passenger airplane that serves the 400- to 500-seat market between the 555-seat Airbus A380 and the 365-seat Boeing 777-300ER airplanes, and for a freighter that continues the leadership of the 747 Freighter family in the world cargo market.

Boeing launched the 747-8 program on Nov. 14, 2005, with firm orders for 18 747-8 Freighters: 10 from Cargolux of Luxembourg and eight from Nippon Cargo Airlines of Japan. The combined list price value of the orders is approximately $5 billion.

Boeing studied the market feasibility of a new 747 for some time, working with operators to establish their requirements for an incrementally larger 747 to continue the profitability of current 747 fleets. By working together with customers and applying the innovative new technologies of the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing created the 747-8 family. In fact, the designation 747-8 was chosen to show the technology connection between the 787 and the new 747.

Both the passenger and freighter versions of the 747-8 will allow operators to maximize their profitability. Seat-mile costs for the 747-8 Intercontinental are the lowest of any in its class - 12 percent lower than for the 747-400, with 2 percent lower trip costs. The 747-8 Intercontinental is more than 10 percent lighter per seat than the Airbus A380 and consumes 11 percent less fuel per passenger. That translates into a trip-cost reduction of 21 percent and a seat-mile cost reduction of more than 6 percent compared to the A380. The 747-8 Intercontinental also features an all new, 787 Dreamliner-inspired interior and a redesigned staircase.

The 747-8 is designed to operate safely at any airport that currently has 747-400 service. The 747-8 will build on the current 747’s capability to fly into most airports worldwide, using the same pilot type ratings, services and most ground support equipment. With a range of 8,000 nautical miles (14,815 km), the 747-8 Intercontinental can connect nearly any major city pair in the world.

The 747-8 family provides new revenue opportunities that will allow airlines to maximize profits. For example, the passenger airplane has 51 additional seats to accommodate 467 passengers in a typical three-class configuration, and it also offers 26 percent more cargo volume. The 747-8 Freighter offers a range of 4,390 nautical miles (8,130 km) and has 16 percent more cargo volume than the 747-400, which allows it to hold seven additional pallets with the same nose-door loading capability, industry-standard 10-foot (3-m) -high pallets and real-world cargo density capability at 9.9 pounds per cubic foot (159 kg/m3).

Both airplanes represent a new benchmark in fuel efficiency and noise reduction, allowing airlines to lower fuel costs and fly into more airports at more times of the day. The 747-8 Intercontinental is 16 percent more fuel efficient than the 747-400 and 11 percent more fuel efficient than the A380. The airplane is quieter, with a 30-percent smaller noise footprint than the 747-400. It offers QC2 takeoffs and QC1 departures.

Compared one on one, the 747-8 Freighter has no competitors. With a maximum structural payload capacity of 147.6 tons (133.9 metric tonnes), the 747-8 Freighter offers 16 percent more revenue cargo volume than the 747-400 Freighter. The additional 4,221 cubic feet (120 m3) of volume means the airplane can accommodate four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets. The 747-8 Freighter enables operators to choose between carrying greater revenue payload—up to an additional 22 tons (20 tonnes)—or flying up to 1,400 nautical miles (2,593 km) farther in markets where cargo density requirements are lower. The airplane upholds its predecessor’s legendary efficiency, with nearly equivalent trip costs and 16 percent lower ton-mile costs than the 747-400 Freighter. In fact, the 747-8 Freighter will enjoy the lowest ton-mile costs of any freighter, giving operators unmatched profit potential.

The 747-8 is the right size for the large airplane market, lowering risk for airlines in a highly variable operating environment.