Randy's Journal: Archives
Since the successful launch of the 747-8 program last year, and the great response to the freighter (44 freighter orders from five customers to date), as well as orders for 3 VIP models, we've been having more and more detailed discussions with our customers about the passenger version, the Intercontinental.
As we've been refining the configuration of the 747-8, it turns out we've come up with more efficiency in the wing design. And the result of that efficiency has meant more range on the passenger airplane, beyond the original 8,000-mile range that we had targeted for - with a capacity for 450 passengers and baggage.
During our recent discussions with customers about adding more range, they've told us that the original range target is fine, and that what they prefer is that we put the efficiency gains into more "payload" - in other words, more passenger capacity.
I've said many times, that we listen closely to what our customers tell us. So what we've decided to do is to configure the 747-8 Intercontinental to be the same length as the 747-8 Freighter, or a length of 250 feet, 8 inches (76.4 meters).
Our baseline configuration for the 747-8 Intercontinental brings it in line with the length of the 747-8 Freighter. Compared with the 747-400, the 747-8 Intercontinental will have a 4.1 meter "stretch" in the forward sections, and a 1.5 meter "stretch" in the mid-section, increasing the seating capacity for the passenger model to 467 seats.
This two meter addition to the initial baseline length for the 747-8 Intercontinental will allow for another 17 seats to be added. So the 747-8 Intercontinental will now be 467 seats, rather than the earlier baseline configuration of 450 seats.
Just think, more than 50 additional seats of potential passenger revenue compared with the 747-400 - all the while having 15% lower fuel consumption, and 10% lower cash operating costs per-seat.
But what remains from our original baseline is the 8,000 mile range, with full passengers and baggage, as well as meeting QC2 noise requirements, and with all the interior improvements based on the 787 interior - for unprecedented passenger appeal.
While this is our new baseline now for the 747-8 Intercontinental, firm configuration is not until next year. And it's important to keep in mind that this airplane is still aimed at the target market for the 747, which is between 400-500 seats. It's what our customers have asked for - a new 747, with commonality and compatibility with today's 747 fleets.
The way I like to think of it is, with greater revenue-generating capability, we're just making an efficient airplane even more efficient.