The Boeing 747-400 Family: The Right Choice for the Large Airplane Market

Instantly recognized by passengers around the world, the Boeing 747 is the world's favorite airplane as well as the world's only 400-seat airplane. The 747-400 is a proven performer with high reliability. It incorporates major aerodynamic improvements over earlier 747 models, including the addition of winglets to reduce drag, new avionics, and a new flight deck. The 747 fits into today's infrastructure, serving more than 210 airports around the world; is the world's best freighter; and is also the world's fastest commercial jetliner

More Range, More Payload, More Revenue

The newest addition to the 747 family -- the 747-400ER ( Extended Range ) -- is available in both passenger and freighter versions. While the same size as the current 747-400, the 747-400ER offers more range or "payload" (passengers or cargo) capability. With Qantas Airways' order for six of these new, longer-range passenger jumbo jets, the 747-400ER entered service in November 2002. Boeing launched the 747-400ER Freighter with an order from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) for five freighter airplanes, the first of which entered service in October 2002.

The 747-400ER is the Boeing answer to customer demand for a more capable 747-400 that has modern features and is easy to integrate into existing fleets. The 747-400ER has an increased takeoff weight of 910,000 pounds (412,770 kg). This takeoff weight increase of 35,000 pounds (15,876 kg) over existing 747-400s allows operators to fly about 410 nautical miles (760 km) farther or carry up to 15,000 pounds (6,800 kg) more payload, either in the form of extra cargo or a full load of 416 passengers.

The 747-400ER passenger airplane has a range of 7,670 nautical miles (14,205 km). The 747-400ER Freighter, at its maximum takeoff weight of 910,000 pounds (412,770 kg), has a range of 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 km).

New Boeing Signature Interior

The 747-400 cabin features the Boeing Signature Interior, distinguished by a new curved, upswept architecture. Not only does this modern look provide a more spacious and pleasing appearance, the installation of 777-style overhead "pivot" bins increases stowage. Passengers will also appreciate the lavatory enhancements that have been made in the new interior.

Overall, 747-400 passengers enjoy 15 percent more volume for carry-on items, including roll-aboard bags, laptop computers and other luggage. The new bins have been thoughtfully designed to accommodate over 30 percent more of the popular roll-aboard bags. The upper deck of the 747-400 offers a dramatic increase in stowage volume, with passengers gaining more than 100 percent more space for carry-on bags.

The new Boeing Signature Interior is standard on the 747-400ER and optional on in-production 747-400s. Boeing is also offering retrofit packages that would allow the more than 460 747-400 passenger airplanes in service today to incorporate an enhanced main-deck and/or upper deck solution.

A Legacy of Evolutionary Success

The baseline 747-400 delivers more range, better fuel economy, lower noise and lower operating costs than the previous 747 models. The 747-400 has a range of approximately 7,260 nautical miles (13,450 km), and the lowest cost per seat-mile of any twin-aisle airplane in service today. It has a dispatch-reliability rate of nearly 99 percent.

Boeing delivered the first 747-400 in 1989 to Northwest Airlines. Since the first 747 delivery in 1969, Boeing has secured orders for more than 1,523 747s. Of those, more than 40 customers had ordered 694 747-400s, making it the most popular widebody airplane in history. The 747's longevity and popularity are based on its low trip costs, leadership in high-density markets, unmatched comfort, and flexibility to serve short-, medium- and long-range routes.

Improved Aerodynamic Performance

The 747-400's most noticeable aerodynamic improvement over previous 747s is the 6-foot (1.8-m) longer wing with a 6-foot-high winglet angled upward and slightly outward. This change reduces fuel burn and extends the airplane's range.

The winglet provides the effect of having an even greater wingspan without outgrowing the standard airport slot. The wingtip extension and winglet offer a fuel mileage improvement of about 3 percent, which during the life span of an airplane amounts to considerable savings for the airlines and their passengers. The durable and lightweight winglets are made of graphite-epoxy materials, currently used on all modern Boeing airplanes. The composite and aluminum winglet saves 60 pounds (27 kg) per airplane compared to an all-aluminum structure.

Advanced Structural Materials

Use of advanced materials allows considerable structural weight reductions throughout the 747-400. Metal flooring, previously used in the passenger cabin, was replaced by light, tough graphite composite floor panels.

Structural carbon brakes are standard on the 747-400's 16 main landing-gear wheels. They provide improved energy absorption characteristics and wear resistance, as well as an estimated 1,800-pound (816 kg) weight savings over previous brakes.

The 747-400 also achieved weight savings of approximately 4,200 pounds (1,900 kg) by using higher strength aluminum alloys with improved fatigue life. These alloys are incorporated in the 747-400's wing skins, stringers and lower-spar chords.

Flight Deck

The 747-400 flight deck provides the same flexibility that is being incorporated in all models across the Boeing fleet.

At the end of 2002, Boeing incorporated new Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) on all new 747-400s. These LCDs provide high reliability and more capability for new functions to be incorporated in the future.

The Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) can call up the status or schematics of various systems at any time on one of the LCDs. Crews now can obtain an update of the airplane's mechanical condition while in flight. Before this improvement, the information was available to maintenance workers only when the airplane was parked.

Interior Design

The 747-400 new interior builds on the already passenger-pleasing 747-400 interior. Boeing redesigned the interior of the 747-400 to improve passenger comfort, convenience and appeal. Ceiling and sidewall panels were recontoured with new, lighter weight materials that provide an open, airy look. Passenger stowage capacity increased to 15.9 cubic feet (0.4 cu m) in each 60-inch (152 cm) outboard stowage bin, or 2.9 cubic feet (0.08 cu m) per passenger.

New laminate materials were designed to meet Boeing fireworthiness goals. A new thermoplastic blend reduces smoke and toxicity levels in the event of fire, and upper-deck ceiling panels are made of improved polyester and phenolic sheet molding materials instead of polyester.

An optional cabin crew rest area uses space in the rear of the fuselage above the aft lavatories. This area, which can be configured for eight bunks and two seats, provides privacy as well as comfort for off-duty flight attendants. By relocating the crew rest to this area, 10 more profit-making seats are available on the main deck of the airplane.

Advanced Manufacturing for the 21st Century

The 747-400 uses state-of-the-art assembly processes to ensure high product quality, reduce delivery cycle times, and lower both maintenance and production costs.

Boeing recently completed a five-year effort to modernize the 747's design/build process. More than 10,000 engineering drawings for the airplane's huge fuselage were digitized into data sets, enabling the production of highly accurate parts. These data sets also allow for laser-guided assembly of skin panels in all-new tooling.

A Versatile Family

The 747-400 is available in passenger and freighter configurations, offering customers maximum flexibility.

Passenger: The 747-400 is a premier long-range airplane that is the right size for both airlines and passengers. The airplane offers value-added technology and additional payload range capability in the 747-400ER, and operators enjoy the lowest cost per seat.

Freighter: The 747 400 Freighter is the largest commercial cargo transport in service, with the lowest ton-mile cost in the industry. It carries twice as much cargo, twice as far, as the competitor's leading freighter. The 747-400ER Freighter offers an even more unbeatable combination of payload, range and speed. With a maximum takeoff weight of 875,000 pounds (396,900 kg), the standard 747-400 Freighter can carry 124 tons (113,000 kg) of cargo up to 4,450 nautical miles (8,240 km). The 747-400ER Freighter has a maximum takeoff weight of 910,000 pounds (412,770 kg) -- allowing it to fly an additional 525 nautical miles (972 km). Or, it can carry an additional 22,000 pounds (9,980 kg) of payload on long-range flights at maximum takeoff weight.