Journal: Flight International Section: Headlines: News
Title: HED - B747X Issue Date: 18/07/00
Author: Max KJ Page Number: 12
Copyright: Free re-use

Boeing prepares for 747X launch Guy Norris/Seattle

Boeing is firming up plans to commit to the $4 billion development of its proposed 747X family, and could go for a formal launch by the second quarter of 2001, pending sufficient orders.

Company chairman and chief executive Phil Condit says the launch of the larger 747 family could come "within six to nine months" and adds that between 10 and 30 orders would be enough to give the go-ahead. Boeing's renewed optimism in the prospects for a launch stems from positive reaction to its plans at a recent airline briefing and further assessment of data which, it claims, shows the 747X out ahead of the competing Airbus A3XX.

Boeing is being more aggressive in its attacks on the A3XX. Its claims of better operating economics are likely to spark a war of words at the Farnborough air show.

The 747X Stretch would be the basis for a new 747 family including a 150t payload freighter, domestic and combi versions, as well as asuccessor to today's -400. Boeingsays it will have 3% to 5% lower seat/km costs and 10% lower trip costs than the A3XX-100.

In an all-freight configuration, Boeing claims the 747X Stretch will have up to 17% lower tonne/km costs than that of the A3XX-100F, largely because of the 747's lower empty weight. Referring to Airbus data, Boeing says the A3XX-100 has an up to 18% higher operating empty weight per seat, and a 12% higher fuel consumption per seat.

Although the two giants areslated to have virtually identical powerplants - the General Electric-Pratt & Whitney GP7000 and the Rolls-Royce Trent 600 - Boeing says the 747X Stretch will be quieter than the A3XX. The company says: "We will better it by 1.5 decibels." Boeing believes the 747X Stretch noise margin may be improved by a move to single-slotted flaps, now under initial study.

Despite the ramp-up of staffing for the possible launch of the 747X Stretch early in 2001, the timescale for entry-into-service is late 2005 - the same as for the A3XX.o

See feature, P83.

Source: Flight International