Flight International Online news 10:00GMT: Boeing has launched the new Boeing 747-8 program, which includes the 747-8 Intercontinental passenger aircraft and the 747-8 Freighter aircraft, winning orders from Cargolux and Nippon Cargo.

 Boeing Launches New 747-8 Program

Boeing said that firm orders from the two launch customers are valued at approximately $5 billion at list prices.

“We are thrilled to have Cargolux and Nippon Cargo choose the new 747-8 and become the launch customers for this next generation of the proud and valuable 747 airplane family,” says Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a statement.

He added that the 747-8 would use the technologies of the 787 Dreamliner to “significantly increase” the passenger and freighter capabilities of the 747 and offer “greater fuel efficiency, improved operating economics, and be more friendly to the environment with reduced noise and emissions.”

Cargolux, based in Luxembourg, has ordered 10 747-8 Freighters and will take delivery of the first 747-8F in the third-quarter 2009. It also holds purchase rights for 10 additional airplanes.

Cargolux currently operates an all-Boeing fleet of 13 747-400 freighters.

Nippon Cargo Airlines, based in Japan, has ordered eight 747-8 Freighters and will receive its first aircraft in the fourth-quarter of 2009. The airline also acquired options for six additional airplanes.

Nippon Cargo currently operates 13 747 freighters and has six more 747-400Fs on order.

Both versions of the new 747 will feature GE’s 787-technology GEnx engines, and, Boeing claims, are promised to meet Stage 4 and QC2 noise requirements, have reduced emissions, offer lower trip costs and have an upgraded flight deck and an improved wing.

“The 747-8 Freighter will be very important in allowing Nippon Cargo to take advantage of the high expected cargo market growth in Asia,” says Takuro Uchiyama, president and CEO, Nippon Cargo Airlines. “In addition, the 747-8 Freighter will be the world’s most efficient cargo airplane, which is a key attribute with today’s high cost of fuel.”

Ulrich Ogiermann, president and CEO, Cargolux Airlines, says, “The Boeing 747-400 Freighter has been a cornerstone of our success, and I have high expectations that the 747-8 Freighter will build on that success and expand our capabilities worldwide. The increased payload capacity and much improved efficiency will allow us to continue our expansion and maximize our profitability. Equally important to us and the communities where we operate is the new standard the 747-8 Freighter will set in noise reduction.”

The 747-8 Intercontinental passenger airplane will be stretched 3.6 m (11.7 ft) compared to the 747-400 to accommodate 34 additional seats in a typical three-class configuration. Boeing says it will have a range of 14,815 km (8,000 nmi) and will feature the new Boeing Signature Interior.

The Intercontinental by Boeing is being marketed as being quieter, producing fewer emissions, and achieving better fuel economy. It will offer 21 percent more lower-hold revenue cargo volume than the 747-400 and cost about 8 percent less per seat mile to operate, claims the firm.

The 747-8 Freighter will be 5.6 m (18.3 ft) longer than the 747-400 freighter. With a total payload capacity of 140 metric tonnes (154 tons), including tare weight, Boeing claims the 747-8F provides 16 percent more cargo revenue volume than the -400. Cargo can be loaded and unloaded on the 747-8F using both the nose and side doors.

The 747-8 Freighter complements the existing 747-400 freighter family. Both models accommodate 3.1-meter (10-foot) high pallets, providing operators with maximum flexibility.

Boeing forecasts the need for about 900 airplanes – passengers and freighters – in the 400-plus-seat segment over the next 20 years. It also forecasts that large widebody freighters (65 metric tons and above in capacity) will comprise 34 percent of the freighter market by 2024.

Source: Flight International