Boeing is partly blaming the production delays to the Airbus A380 for the sluggish sales of the 747-8I. The passenger model has attracted only one order from a commercial airline - launch customer Lufthansa, which is buying 20 aircraft. Boeing has also sold six 747-8s in a VIP layout.
Ross Bogue, 747-8 vice-president and general manager, says that in the wake of the A380 delay, several airlines postponed purchase decisions for 747-200 and 747-400 replacements.
He also believes that the 525-seat A380 and the 461-seat 747-8I should not be viewed by the market as competitive aircraft types. Rather, he says, the 747-8I occupies a standalone niche in the ultra-long range widebody market.
Boeing has lowered its market outlook for the 747-8 to reflect the decision by British Airways last year to order a batch of A380s.
Bogues says the market for the 747-8 now represents about 345 aircraft, of which about 75% belongs to the 747-8F. Boeing therefore predicts about 85 aircraft sales for the 747-8I, 26 of which are already accounted for in sales to Lufthansa and Boeing Business Jets.
Total 747-8 orders stand at 104 aircraft, and the airframer is in active discussions with 14 potential customers for a total of 90 aircraft. Boeing 747 v Airbus A380
June 2006 Boeing considers lengthening 747-8I