First Passenger 747 Order In Years... But Whose Is It?
Sshh. Don't say we told you... but Boeing has booked
its first order for the passenger-version of its upcoming 747-8
We didn't hear that from Boeing, but rather received a tip after
perusing an aviation chat room Friday, which led us to check it out
for ourselves. Sure enough, it's right there on the manufacturer's
Boeing isn't making a big deal at all about the fact the
manufacturer has booked its first order for a passenger-carrying
747 in several years. Lately, freighters have been the big money
makers for the 747 program -- a trend that continued when Boeing
launched development of the 747-8 program last year.
To date, Boeing has 19 orders for the company's A380 competitor
-- 10 from Luxembourg's Cargolux, another eight from Nippon Cargo
Airlines... and the one "unidentified" customer, for the
So... whose plane is it? Boeing isn't saying much... except that
the customer for the plane does not want to be identified. When
pressed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Thursday, a Boeing
spokesman added that only a few people in the company know whose
plane it is.
Of course, you know what THAT means... let the rampant
Theories on who ordered the first 747i are blossoming, like so
many flowers on a grassy knoll. So far, Lufthansa... Singapore
Airlines... United Airlines... even "an unidentified Arab
sheik" have been listed as possible customers.
There is also a persistent rumor the plane could be the new Air
Force One (which is actually two aircraft... both custom-made, low
time, pristinely-maintained 747-200s, above.)
Boeing will launch the cargo version of the 747-8 -- which
features a stretched fuselage, updated wing, and more
fuel-efficient engines from the 787 program -- in late 2009, with
the first Intercontinental to be delivered about six months later