No other single number has driven aviation marketing more than the number eight. Yes, it was numerally in sequence after the 777, which was just a coincidental perk, but highly intentional. The A380, A350 and the 787, 747 all have their base models as -800 (Airbus) and -8 (Boeing).
The word for "eight" in Chinese (Pinyin: bā) sounds similar to the word which means "prosper" or "wealth" (发 - short for "发财", Pinyin: fā). In regional dialects the words for "eight" and "fortune" are also similar, eg Cantonese "baat" and "faat".
There is also a resemblance between two digits, "88", and the shuang xi ('double joy'), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 (xi, 'joy', 'happiness').
Some people also think that 8 can be associated with the symbol meaning infinity (an 8 turned 90 degrees).
Telephone number 8888-8888 was sold for USD$270,723 in Chengdu, China.
The Summer Olympics in Beijing are scheduled to open on 8/8/08 at 8:08:08 p.m.
A man in Hangzhou offered to sell his license plate reading A88888 for 1.12 million yuan.
Dragon Fish Industry in Singapore, a breeder of rare Asian Arowanas (which are "lucky fish" themselves, and, being a rare species, are required to be microchipped), makes sure to use numbers with plenty of eights in their microchip tag numbers, and appears to reserve particularly numbers especially rich in eights and sixes (e.g. 702088880006688) for particularly valuable specimens.
The Asian market has been a top priority for Airbus and Boeing, with massive orders being announced every several months. The 2008 Singapore Air Show in late February will prominently display the massive efforts of both aerospace giants and their never ending quest to win the market share battle of Asia. Boeing forecasts over a trillion dollars in potential sales in the Asia-Pacific region over the next twenty years. Eight is indeed a lucky number for Boeing, Airbus and Asia.
Quite consequently, the 787 passed its 800th order today with the firming of 12 aircraft for Vietnam Airlines. This brings last week's 790 order total with British Airways to a staggering 802 orders to date for the 787. A very good way to start off two thousand and eight for Boeing.
Image Courtesy The Boeing Company