Boeing is adamant that this year it will gain the first orders for its 747-8 passenger aircraft but is unwilling to predict whether it will be in the first or second half.

“We have a number of campaigns underway and expect customers for the passenger version this year…but it is hard to predict” when this year, Boeing vice president product development Dan Mooney told Flight today at Singapore’s Asian Aerospace air show.

Boeing 747-8 pax W445

Boeing launched the 747-8 programme in November with orders for the freighter variant from Cargolux and Nippon Cargo Airlines. At the time there were suggestions Boeing was expecting its first order for the passenger variant in the first quarter of this year.

Mooney says the first flight of the 747-8 will be at the end of 2008 or early 2009 and first deliveries of the 747-8 freighter and 747-8 passenger aircraft are expected to occur in the “third quarter or early fourth quarter of 2009” and “the first half of 2010” respectively.

When asked how soon Boeing needs to get a firm order so it has enough time to manufacture the passenger aircraft for delivery in 2010’s first half, he says: “We don’t have any contingencies for that… We are confident in the campaigns going on.”

Mooney says the 747-8 offers greater passenger and cargo capacity as well as greater range than the 747-400 because it makes use of the product and technological enhancements from the new Boeing 787 and newer-model Boeing 777s.

He says the 747-8’s flight deck borrows from the improvements made on the 777 flight decks, the interior makes use of the Boeing Signature interior architecture on the 777, new alloys come from developments achieved with the 787 programme and the wireless in-flight entertainment system is a product benefit borne out of the 787 programme.

Generally speaking, about half of the 747-8’s improved efficiency can be attributed to the GEnx engines and the rest can be attributed to greater capacity, as a result of the stretched fuselage, new materials such as new alloys and improved aerodynamics, adds Mooney.


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Source: Flight International