Parts, Assemblies Designs Come Next
Hoping to allay concerns the six-month delay to its 787
Dreamliner program might have a ripple-effect on
its other upcoming airliners -- as well as to steal a small bit of
thunder from the recent entry of the Airbus A380 into scheduled commercial
service -- on Tuesday Boeing announced it has
completed firm configuration of its competitor to the superjumbo
Airbus, the 747-8 Intercontinental.
The milestone marks the completion of the major trade studies
needed to finalize the airplane's performance and interior
"We have designed the 747-8 Intercontinental to be the ideal
airplane for serving the 400- to 500-seat market between the 777
and the A380," said Michael Teal, deputy chief project engineer for
the 747 program. "The airplane will provide airlines significantly
lower operating costs, as well as improved economics and
environmental performance compared to the 747-400. It also will
feature a new interior that will increase passenger appeal and
create a strong and very favorable first impression."
Many of the trade studies for the 747-8 Intercontinental focused
on the airplane's interior. The airplane will incorporate interior
features from the Dreamliner, including a new curved, upswept
architecture intended to increase perceived space inside, while
also adding more room for personal belongings. The enhanced
interior architecture is accentuated by new lighting technology
that creates a perception of airy brightness and provides smooth
lighting transitions to offer a more restful environment.
The 747-8 also will integrate features from the 777, including
windows that equal those on the 777, and are larger than those on
"The 747 family's unique interior and structural design have
provided passengers with memorable flying experiences for decades,"
said Doug Ackerman, engineering interior team leader for the 747-8.
"With the newly applied 787 features, passengers will know they are
on a brand new airplane the moment they step on board, and enjoy a
more relaxing flying experience."
As for the airplane's performance, the 747-8 Intercontinental
will be stretched 5.6m (18.3ft) from the 747-400 to provide 467
seats in a three-class configuration and approximately 14,815-km
(8,000-nmi) in range. Boeing says it will provide nearly equivalent
trip costs to those on the 747-400 and 10 percent lower seat-mile
costs, plus 28 percent greater cargo volume. The 747-8
Intercontinental also will be 16 percent more fuel efficient and 30
percent quieter than its predecessor.
With firm configuration complete, Boeing and its suppliers can
begin detailed design of parts, assemblies and other systems for
the 747-8 Intercontinental. The detailed designs will then be
released to Boeing suppliers and factories to begin production of
"This milestone is a tribute to the efforts of the 747-8 team,
our customers and suppliers," said Teal. "Now our team and partners
must concentrate on completing the detailed designs needed to begin
production and deliver the airplane on schedule in late 2010."
The 747-8 program, which includes the 747-8 Intercontinental and
the 747-8 Freighter, was launched in November 2005 by Cargolux
Airlines and Nippon Cargo Airlines. Lufthansa was the first
passenger airline to order the 747-8 Intercontinental in December