Joined: 15 Dec 2006
|Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:04 pm Post subject: The end of B747
|we all saw it coming, and here are three good articles about it
|Iconic Boeing 747 Could Be Nearing It's End
But technology eventually caught up with the 747.
As engines became more powerful and reliable, the government in 1988 started allowing certain planes with just two engines to fly over the ocean, as far as three hours away from the nearest airport. Within a decade, twin-engine planes like the Airbus A330 and the Boeing 777 began to dominate long-haul routes.
Passenger airlines have ordered 31 747-8s, the current version of the plane. By comparison, airlines have ordered 979 of its smaller but ultra-fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner.
The cost is a factor. The 747 is Boeing's most expensive plane with a list price of around $350 million, compared with $320 million for Boeing's biggest 777.
"Several" brand-new 747s have gone into storage, the company said, "to balance production and delivery rates."
|Boeing's 747 The end?
"THE 747," Quartz recently proclaimed, "is going extinct." It was a bold stand; the day before it predicted the plane's demise, Korean Air ordered 10 new ones. The President of the United States is also a fan; a new fleet of presidential planes set to debut later this decade will likely be composed entirely of 747s. So Boeing's iconic jumbo isn't dead yet. But it is not so crazy to say that it is headed for retirement.
For decades, the 747's greatest asset was its four giant engines. They provided scale; they could lift more passengers and cargo than two similarly sized ones. They also served as visual reminders to nervous flyers that air travel is safe and smart: even if three of the four jets failed, a pilot could theoretically bring a lightly loaded 747 in on just one.
Crucially, four-engine planes, including the 747 and the Airbus A-340, can literally fly where two-engine planes can't, because they are not subject to restrictions that require smaller aircraft to stay within a certain distance of runways where they can land. This regulatory framework has probably lengthened the lifespan of the jumbo.
In recent decades, however, a number of trends have begun to counteract these advantages, turning what was once a positive into a liability. First, of course, is the rising cost of fuel. Big planes almost always use more fuel than smaller ones and the use of composite materials has made modern, twin-engine planes even lighter and more fuel-efficient. Meanwhile, engines have become much more reliable. Failures are so uncommon as to be virtually nonexistent. And as flying has become more popular, airlines have found that many passengers prefer a choice of departure times, and have shifted to operating multiple smaller flights on popular routes instead of sending out one or two packed 747s.
|How the Boeing 747 Got Left Behind
Since it launched the 747-8 passenger model in 2006 with a longer body and new engines in hopes of rekindling sales, Boeing has sold just 31 of them to airlines, plus another nine to VIP users. "It's a market that hasn't delivered like we'd anticipated," Randy Tinseth, Boeing's vice president of marketing, says. Meanwhile, the company has sold 70 freighter versions.
Boeing would like to keep producing 747s even as it lays plans for a new model of its twin-engine 777, which could eventually supplant the older plane. As early as this month, the Chicago company is expected to seek permission from its board to formally start selling new stretched models of the 777, dubbed the 777X, with additional lucrative under-cabin cargo space and the 747's 16-hour range.
Wall St. Journal