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Boeing 747-8

Boeing 747-8
Boeing 747-8I of Lufthansa, the type's largest operator (2015)
Role Wide-body jet airliner
National origin United States
Manufacturer Boeing Commercial Airplanes
First flight 747-8F: February 8, 2010
747-8I: March 20, 2011
Introduction 747-8F: October 12, 2011, with Cargolux
747-8I: June 1, 2012, with Lufthansa
Status In service
Primary users Lufthansa
Cathay Pacific Cargo
Nippon Cargo Airlines
Produced 2008–present
Number built 96 delivered as of September 2015[1]
Unit cost
747-8F: US$356.9 million[2]
747-8: US$357.5 million[2]
Developed from Boeing 747-400

The Boeing 747-8 is a wide-body jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Officially announced in 2005, the 747-8 is the third generation of the 747, with lengthened fuselage, redesigned wings, and improved efficiency. The 747-8 is the largest 747 version, the largest commercial aircraft built in the United States, and the longest passenger aircraft in the world.[3]

The 747-8 is offered in two main variants: the 747-8 Intercontinental (747-8I) for passengers and the 747-8 Freighter (747-8F) for cargo.[4] The first 747-8F performed the model's maiden flight on February 8, 2010, with the 747-8 Intercontinental following on March 20, 2011. Delivery of the first freighter aircraft occurred in October 2011 and the passenger model began deliveries in 2012. As of September 2015, confirmed orders for the 747-8 total 119, comprising 68 of the freighter version, and 51 of the passenger version.


  • Development 1
    • Background 1.1
    • Design effort 1.2
    • Flight testing and certification 1.3
    • Entry into service and future prospects 1.4
  • Design 2
  • Variants 3
    • 747-8 Freighter 3.1
    • 747-8 Intercontinental 3.2
    • Presidential aircraft 3.3
  • Operators 4
    • Orders and deliveries 4.1
    • Sales and marketing 4.2
      • Cargo aircraft 4.2.1
      • Passenger aircraft 4.2.2
  • Incidents 5
  • Specifications 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9



Boeing had considered larger-capacity versions of the 747 several times during the 1990s and 2000s.[5] The 747-500X and -600X, proposed at the 1996 Farnborough Airshow, would have stretched the 747 and used a 777-derived wing,[5] but did not attract enough interest to enter development. In 2000, Boeing offered the 747X and 747X Stretch derivatives as alternatives to the Airbus A3XX. This was a more modest proposal than the previous −500X and −600X. The 747X would increase the 747's wingspan to 229 ft (69.8 m) by adding a segment at the root.[6] The 747X was to carry 430 passengers up to 8,700 nmi (16,100 km). The 747X Stretch would be extended to 263 ft (80.2 m) long, allowing it to carry 500 passengers up to 7,800 nmi (14,400 km).[6] However, the 747X family was unable to attract enough interest to enter production. Some of the ideas developed for the 747X were used on the 747-400ER.[7]

Boeing's Everett Facility at Paine Field, originally built for the 747 program, is the site of 747-8 assembly.

After the 747X program, Boeing continued to study improvements to the 747. The 747-400XQLR (Quiet Long Range) was meant to have an increased range of 7,980 nmi (14,780 km), with better fuel efficiency and reduced noise.[8] Changes studied included raked wingtips similar to those used on the 767-400ER and a 'sawtooth' engine nacelle for noise reduction.[9] Although the 747-400XQLR did not move to production, many of its features were used for the 747 Advanced.

In early 2004, Boeing announced tentative plans for the 747 Advanced that were eventually adopted. Similar in nature to the 747X, the stretched 747 Advanced used technology from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to modernize the design and its systems.[10] On November 14, 2005, Boeing announced that it was launching the 747 Advanced as the "Boeing 747-8".[11]

Design effort

The 747-8 was designed to be the first lengthened 747 to go into production. The 747-8 and shortened 747SP are the only 747 variants with a fuselage of modified length. The 747-8 was intended to use the same engine and cockpit technology as that of the 787, including the General Electric GEnx turbofan and partial fly-by-wire.[12] Boeing said that the new design would be quieter, more economical, and more environmentally friendly than previous versions of the 747. As a derivative of the already-common 747-400, the 747-8 has the economic benefit of similar training and interchangeable parts. Boeing firmed the 747-8 Freighter's configuration in October 2006.[13]

The 747-8, as the current new development of Boeing's largest airliner, is notably in direct competition on long-haul routes with the Airbus A380, a full-length double-deck aircraft now in service. For airlines seeking very large passenger airliners, the two have been pitched as competitors on various occasions. Boeing states that the 747-8 is more than 10 percent lighter per seat and is to consume 11 percent less fuel per passenger than the A380, translating into a trip-cost reduction of 21 percent and a seat-mile cost reduction of over 6 percent.[14]

Production of the first 747-8 Freighter began in Everett in early August 2008.[15][16] On November 14, 2008, Boeing announced a delay to the 747-8 program, citing limited availability of engineering resources within Boeing, design changes, and the recent strike by factory workers.[17][18][19] On July 21, 2009, Boeing released a photograph of the first cargo airplane, its fuselage and main wing assembled.[20]

The 747-8 landing gear configuration is the same as on earlier 747 versions

In February 2009, only one airline customer (Lufthansa) had ordered the 747-8I passenger model, and Boeing announced it was reassessing the 747-8 project. Chief executive Jim McNerney stated that continuation of the project was not a foregone conclusion. The company was assessing various options.[21][22]

In October 2009, Boeing announced that it had delayed the first flight on the 747-8 until the first quarter of 2010 and delayed 747-8I delivery. The company took a US$1-billion charge against its earnings for this delay.[23][24][25] In response, launch customer Cargolux stated it still intended to take delivery of the thirteen freighters it had ordered; Lufthansa confirmed its commitment to the passenger version.[26] On November 12, 2009, Boeing announced that Cargolux's first airplane was fully assembled and entering the Everett plant's paint shop. It was to undergo flight testing prior to delivery.[27]

On December 4, 2009, Korean Air became the second airline customer for the −8I passenger model, with an order for five airliners.[28][29] On January 8, 2010, Guggenheim Aviation Partners (GAP) announced the reduction of its −8F order from four to two aircraft.[30] In March 2011, Korean Air converted options into a firm order for two additional −8 freighters.[31][32]

On April 21, 2010, Boeing chief executive officer Jim McNerney announced that the company would be accelerating the production of both the Boeing 747 and 777 to support increasing customer demand.[33]

Flight testing and certification

Boeing 747-8 flight deck

The 747-8's first engine runs were completed in December 2009.[34] Boeing announced the new model had successfully completed high-speed taxi tests on February 7, 2010.[35] On February 8, 2010, after a 2.5-hour weather delay, the 747-8 Freighter made its maiden flight, taking off from Paine Field, Washington at 12:39 PST,[36] and landed at 4:18 pm PST.[37] Boeing estimated that more than 1,600 flight hours would be needed in order to certify the 747-8.[38] The second test flight in late February, a ferry flight to Moses Lake, Washington, tested new navigation equipment.[39] Further flight testing was to take place in Moses Lake, conducting initial airworthiness and flutter tests, before moving to Palmdale, California, for the majority of flight tests, so as to not interfere with 787 flight tests based out of Boeing Field in Seattle.[40]

By March 11, 2010, the 747-8F had flown thirteen flights for a total of 33 hours of flying time.[41] On March 15, 2010, the second 747-8F first flew from Paine Field to Boeing Field, where it was briefly based before moving to Palmdale to continue flight testing with the first −8F.[42] On March 17 the third −8F made its first flight and joined the test program.[43]

The prototype Boeing 747-8F during flight testing

During the flight tests, Boeing discovered a buffet problem with the aircraft, involving turbulence coming off the landing gear doors interfering with the inboard flaps. Boeing undertook an evaluation of the issue, which included devoting the third test aircraft to investigating the problem.[44] The issue was resolved by a design change to the outboard main landing gear doors.[45] In early April 2010, Boeing identified a possible defect in a part at the top of the fuselage called a longeron. According to Boeing, the parts, manufactured by subcontractor Vought Aircraft Industries, are, under certain loads, susceptible to cracking. Boeing said that the issue would not affect flight testing, but other sources stated that the problem could impact the operating envelope of the aircraft until it is fully repaired.[46] Two other problems have been found, with oscillation in the inboard aileron, and a structural flutter, and have not yet been resolved as of 2010. Combined, these problems have slowed flight testing and used up almost all the margin in Boeing's development schedule.[47]

On April 19, 2010, the second flight-test aircraft was moved from Moses Lake to Palmdale to conduct tests on the aircraft's engines in preparation for obtaining a type certification for the aircraft. The remaining aircraft in the test fleet are scheduled to be moved to Palmdale during May.[48] It was reported on June 3, 2010, that an engine on the second 747-8F was struck by a tug during a ground move. The engine cowling was damaged, but there was no damage to the engine itself. After repairs the aircraft is to perform fuel efficiency testing.[49] It was announced on June 14, 2010, that the 747-8 had completed the initial phase of flight-worthiness testing and that the FAA had given Boeing an expanded type inspection authorization for the aircraft.[50]

Cargolux's first 747-8F in flight over Fresno, California

By the end of June 2010, the three 747-8Fs that composed the flight-test program had flown a total of over 500 hours and had completed hot-weather testing in Arizona.[51] In June 2010, Boeing determined that a fourth −8F aircraft was needed to help complete flight testing. It was decided to use the second production aircraft, RC503, to conduct the non-instrumented or minimally-instrumented tests, such as HIRF and Water Spray Certifications.[52][53] The aircraft, painted in delivery customer Cargolux's new livery, first flew on July 23, 2010.[54]

On August 21, 2010, the 747-8F proved its capability by taking off from the runway at Victorville, California, weighing 1,005,000 pounds (455,860 kg). Its design maximum take-off weight (MTOW) is 975,000 pounds (442,253 kg). The fifth 747-8F joined the flight-test effort with its first flight on February 3, 2011.[55] On September 30, 2010, Boeing announced a further postponement, with the delivery of the first freighter to Cargolux planned for mid-2011.[56][57]

The 747-8 passenger version took to the skies over Everett, Washington, for the first time on March 20, 2011.[58] The second 747-8I flew on April 26, 2011.[59] Three 747-8 Intercontinentals had taken part in flight testing by December 2011.[60]

The 747-8F received its amended type certificate jointly from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on August 19, 2011. Freighter deliveries were to begin on September 19, 2011.[61][62] Then on September 17, 2011, Cargolux announced that it would not accept the first two 747-8Fs scheduled for delivery on September 19 and 21, 2011, due to "unresolved contractual issues between Boeing and Cargolux" with the aircraft.[63][64] It entered service in October 2011.[65]

On October 25, 2011, the 747-8 flew to Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados to begin flight testing in the tropical climate of the Caribbean to determine its effects on the aircraft. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner performed similar testing at Barbados the previous week.[66][67][68] One test −8I was used for an evaluation by Lufthansa in early December 2011 before first delivery in early 2012.[60] On December 14, 2011, the 747-8I received its type certificate from the FAA.[69][70]

The 747-8 has an airport Quota Count of 2 for takeoff and 1 for landing,[71] permitting night operations at London Heathrow Airport.

Entry into service and future prospects

After resolving their contractual issues, Boeing handed over the first 747-8F to Cargolux in Everett, Washington, on October 12, 2011. The freighter then flew to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport and picked up cargo before flying to Luxembourg.[72]

Lufthansa received its first 747-8 Intercontinental on May 5, 2012, and began operating the version on flights from Frankfurt to Washington, D.C., on June 1, 2012.[73][74]

On September 15, 2012, the United States' National Transportation Safety Board requested the grounding of GE-powered 747-8s and 787s until engines receive inspections following cracks discovered in three GEnx engines.[75]

On January 27, 2013, the 747-8 fleet reached the 100,000 hours mark.[76] The 747-8 production rate was decreased from 2 to 1.75 aircraft per month in April 2013 and then reduced further to 1.5 aircraft per month in October 2013.[77] On June 25, 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that the order backlog was down to 32 and Boeing had decided to reduce production to one aircraft per month in 2016.[78]

In 2014, Boeing embarked on an improvement program for the 747-8 named "Project Ozark", with the goal of improved range and lower fuel burn. With all improvements implemented, the resulting aircraft would have a maximum takeoff weight of greater than one million lb. The company slowly introduced aspects of Ozark over time. An engine Performance Improvement Package has resulted in 2% lower fuel burn. Boeing also improved the tail fuel tank's function and improved the flight management software. Aircraft produced beginning in 2014 weigh 9,000 lb less than the first 747-8 coming off the production line and burns 3.5% less fuel. Other improvements being introduced include revised fairings next to the tail and wing-to-body-fairings. The chevrons on the trailing edge of the GEnx-2B nacelle are being made thinner. Boeing hoped that these improvements, which benefit both the passenger and freighter version, would help improve sales.[79]

The future for the 747-8 passenger version seems limited. While airline pilots delight in flying the airplane and some carriers, like Delta Airlines, have found aging 747-400s to be iconic and attractive in advertising, demand for the airplane is likely to fade. Lufthansa vice president Nico Buchholz stated Boeing has not marketed the 747-8 aggressively enough. However, veteran industry analyst Richard Aboulafia, of the Teal Group, pointed to a basic misunderstanding of the 747's original draw. Airlines bought the 747 primarily for its range, not its capacity, and the potential for unfilled seats was an accepted drawback. The advent of the long-range twin-engine jet, exemplified by the Boeing 777, took away the range advantage. The increased capacity of the 747-8 is an advantage for the freighter version, not the passenger version; moreover, the freighter has no direct competitor. Boeing marketing vice president Randy Tinseth acknowledges that the company has sold more freighters and fewer passenger versions than it expected.[80] Boeing's 787 provides greater operational savings than the 747-8. The 747-8's large cargo space, coupled with the growing worldwide demand for efficient air cargo transport, suggest that the cargo version may have a strong future.[81][82][83]


Boeing 747-8 wing-fuselage sections during final assembly

The 747-8 is a development of the Boeing 747 that takes advantage of improvements in technology and aerodynamics. The two 747-8 variants feature a fuselage stretch of 18.3 ft (5.6 m) over the 747-400, bringing the total length to 250 ft 2 in (76.25 m). The 747-8 is the world's longest passenger airliner, surpassing the Airbus A340-600 by approximately 3 ft (0.91 m).[3][84] With a maximum take-off weight of 975,000 lb (442,000 kg),[85] the 747-8 is the heaviest aircraft, commercial or military, manufactured in the U.S.[84]

Compared to the 747-400, the main changes have been on the wings, which have undergone a complete design overhaul. The sweep and basic structure has been kept to contain costs, but the wing is thicker and deeper, with the aerodynamics recalculated. The pressure distribution and bending moments are different, and the new wing for the passenger version holds 64,225 US gal (243,120 L) of jet fuel, and the cargo aircraft 60,925 US gal (230,630 L).[85] The increased wing span makes the 747-8 a Category F plane rather than a Category E plane,[86] similar to the Airbus A380.[87] The new wing features single-slotted outboard flaps and double-slotted inboard flaps.[88]

The General Electric GEnx engine for the 747-8/787 on display at the 2009 Paris Air Show

Raked wingtips, similar to the ones used on the 777-200LR, 777-300ER, and 787 aircraft, are used on the new 747 variant instead of winglets used on the 747-400.[89][90] These wingtip structures help reduce the wingtip vortices at the lateral edges of the wings, decreasing wake turbulence and drag, and thereby improving fuel efficiency. Another effort to reduce weight is the introduction of fly-by-wire technology for the majority of the lateral controls.[12]

The extra fuel capacity in the redesigned wing compared to the 747-400 eliminates the need to significantly change the horizontal tail unit to accommodate auxiliary tanks, further saving costs.[91] The 747-8's vertical tail unit is largely unchanged with a height of 63 feet 6 inches (19.35 m).[85] Some carbon fiber-reinforced plastic is used in the 747-8's airframe to reduce weight.

The General Electric GEnx is the only engine available for the 747-8. It is one of the two powerplant choices offered for the Boeing 787. The 747 engine variant has been adapted to provide bleed air for conventional airplane systems and feature a smaller diameter to fit on the 747 wing. The flight tests of the GEnx 2b engine fitted to a Boeing 747-100 aircraft at the left inner engine began in March 2009.[92]


747-8 Freighter

The Boeing 747-8F during flight testing at Everett, Washington

The 747 has proven to be a very popular freighter, carrying around half of the world's air freight.[93] To maintain this position, Boeing designed a freight variant of the 747-8, named the 747-8 Freighter or 747-8F. The company launched the freighter version on November 14, 2005.[94] The 747-8F is the initial model to enter service. As on the 747-400F, the upper deck is shorter than passenger models; the 18-foot-3 12-inch (5.575 m) stretch is just before and just aft of the wing. With a 975,000 lb (442,000 kg) maximum take-off weight, it is to have a total payload capability of 308,000 lb (140,000 kg) and a range of 4,390 nmi (8,130 km).[95] Four extra pallet spaces were created on the main deck, with either two extra containers and two extra pallets, or three extra pallets, on the lower deck.[20] The 747-8F is expected to achieve a 16% lower ton-mile operating cost than the 747-400F and offer a slightly greater range.[96]

The first 747-8 Freighter at the fuel dock of Boeing's Everett Plant

The 747-8F is to have more payload capacity but less range than the current 747-400ERF. When Boeing launched the −400ERF, all of the 35,000 lb (16,000 kg) increase over the 747-400F's maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 875,000 lb (397,000 kg) allowed for greater range with the same landing weight as the 747-400F. Cargo carriers often move machinery or indivisible loads that require a higher payload and landing capability. As is common with cargo planes, range is given with maximum payload, not maximum fuel. The 747-8's 65,000 lb (29,000 kg) MTOW increase over the -400ERF has been directed exclusively to its Zero-fuel weight or payload capacity. If taking off at maximum payload, the 747-8 takes off with its tanks not full. On trips where the payload is not at maximum, the plane can take on more fuel and extend its range.

Cargolux and Nippon Cargo Airlines were the first customers for the 747-8, placing orders for the freighter variant in November 2005.[1] The firm configuration of the aircraft was finalized in October 2006.[97] Major assembly of the aircraft began on August 8, 2008,[16] and the aircraft first left Boeing's Everett factory on November 12, 2009.[98] The first aircraft was delivered on October 12, 2011, to Cargolux.[99] At its six-month service mark, Boeing announced that initial 747-8F operators had achieved a 1-percent reduction in fuel burn over projections.[100] Nippon Cargo's business suffers from a slow market, and several of its new 747-8F aircraft are parked long-term in the Arizona Desert rather than carrying freight,[77] along with a VIP version.[101]

In June 2015, Boeing predicted new orders for the 747-8F based on its projections of a 4.7% annual increase in air cargo demand.[102]

747-8 Intercontinental

The prototype Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental on a test flight

The passenger version, named 747-8 Intercontinental or 747-8I was formally launched on November 14, 2005, by Boeing.[103] It can carry up to 467 passengers in a typical three-class configuration over 8,000 nmi (15,000 km) at Mach 0.855. The 747-8I can carry 51 more passengers and two more freight pallets with 26% more cargo volume than the 747-400.[96] Despite initial plans for a shorter stretch than the freighter model, the two variants were set at the same length, increasing passenger capacity and allowing easier modification of the 747-8I to freighter use.[104] The upper deck is lengthened on the -8I.[105] New engine technology and aerodynamic modifications allow longer range. Boeing has stated that compared to the 747-400, the -8I is to be 30% quieter, 16% more fuel-efficient, and have 13% lower seat-mile costs with nearly the same cost per trip.[106]

Main deck seating on the 747-8 Intercontinental

For the 747-8, Boeing has proposed some changes to the interior layout of the aircraft. Most noticeable is the curved stairway to the upper deck and a more spacious main passenger entrance.[107] The 747-8's main cabin uses an interior similar to that of the 787. Overhead bins are curved, and the center row is designed to look as though it is attached to the curved ceiling, rather than integrated into the ceiling's curve like on the 777. The windows are also of similar size to the type used on the 777, which are 8% larger than those on the current 747-400s. The 747-8 features a new solid-state light-emitting diode (LED) lighting system, which can create mood lighting.[105] LED technology also offers improved reliability and lower maintenance costs.

Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental upper deck staircase and skylight

Further down the aircraft, it has been proposed to place cabin-accessible facilities in the "crown" area, the space above the passenger cabin, previously used for air-conditioning ducts and wiring. The wiring and ducts are moved to the side to create extra space; as a consequence, this area will not have windows. The added space can be used for galleys and crew rest areas, freeing up main deck space for additional passenger seating.

During the initial 747-8 marketing phase, Boeing also proposed creating a revenue-generating "SkyLoft" passenger facility in the crown space. This facility would include "SkySuites", small individual compartments with sliding doors or curtains, featuring beds, seating, and entertainment or business equipment. A common lounge area could also be provided. Boeing also proposed smaller, more modest "SkyBunks". Access to the crown area would be via a separate stairway at the rear of the aircraft. Passengers using the SkySuites, sold at a premium price, would sit in regular economy class seats for take-off and landing, and move to the crown area during flight. However, pricing feasibility studies found the SkyLoft concept difficult to justify. In 2007, Boeing dropped the SkyLoft concept in favor of upper-deck galley storage options, which were favored by the airlines.[108] Outfitting the crown space for sleeping remains an option on VIP aircraft,[109] and the first BBJ 747-8 with AeroLoft was produced in 2012.[110][111]

The first order for the 747-8 Intercontinental was placed by an undisclosed VIP customer in May 2006.[112][113] Lufthansa became the first airline to order the 747-8 Intercontinental on December 6, 2006.[114] In December 2009, Korean Air announced the order of five 747-8Is.[28][29] Boeing stated firm configuration for the −8 was reached in November 2007.[115]

A Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental of launch customer Lufthansa shortly after take-off

Major assembly of the first 747-8 Intercontinental began on May 8, 2010.[106] The final body join occurred on October 15, 2010, slightly ahead of the projected schedule.[116] Assembly of first 747-8I was completed in February 2011, before being unveiled at a rollout ceremony in Everett, Washington on February 13, 2011.[117][118] At the time, deliveries were set to begin in late 2011.[119]

Gauntlet ground testing of the −8I, which tests systems by simulating flight conditions, took place on March 12 and 13, 2011.[119] The 747-8 Intercontinental's first flight occurred on March 20, 2011 from Paine Field in Everett, Washington.[120] The second 747-8I first flew the following month.[59] Following a flight test program the 747-8I was FAA certified on December 14, 2011.[121] At that time, −8I deliveries were planned to begin in early 2012.[60][69]

During development testing aeroelastic flutter was observed during a test that measured how the aircraft performed if its wing-to-strut join fitting fails at the same time the fuel tanks in the horizontal stabilizer were filled at over 15% of their capacity.[122] Federal Aviation Administration regulations require that there be no structural flutter in the airframe after any single failure condition.[122] As a result, in January 2012 Boeing reported that 747-8's fuel tanks in the horizontal stabilizers will be closed off to prevent their use until the issue can be resolved.[122] This will reduce its range by 550–930 km.[122] On December 18, 2013 Boeing announced that a series of new performance packages will allow for the reactivation of the tail fuel tanks starting no later than early 2014. Older 747-8s can also be retrofitted with them.[123] The first 747-8 Intercontinental was delivered to a VIP customer on February 28, 2012. It is to be outfitted with a VIP interior before entering service in 2014.[124] The first 747-8 Intercontinental was delivered in May and began commercial service on June 1, 2012, with Lufthansa.[74]

Presidential aircraft

In 2007, the United States Air Force was seeking to upgrade Air Force One by replacing the Boeing VC-25 (two heavily modified Boeing 747-200Bs).[125] In 2009, Boeing was reported to be exploring a 747-8 proposal, along with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner variant.[126] On January 28, 2015, the Air Force announced the selection of the 747-8 to replace the aging VC-25A for presidential transport. U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said, "The Boeing 747-8 is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States (that) when fully missionized meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission..."[127][128]

In 2010, South Korea government sources indicated that the nation was considering purchasing the 747-8 to serve as the country's presidential aircraft.[129]


In July 2015, there were 84 Boeing 747-8 aircraft in airline service with the following operators:[130]

Previous operators include Global Supply Systems.[131]

Orders and deliveries

Boeing 747-8 orders and deliveries by year
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Total
Orders 18 42 20 2 5 1 5 7 17 2 0 119
Deliveries 747-8I 12 5 10 9 36
747-8F 9 19 19 9 4 60
Total 9 31 24 19 13 96
Boeing 747-8 firm orders and deliveries
Date of
initial order
Customer 747‑8I 747‑8F Delivered
Nov 15, 2005 Cargolux Airlines 14 13
Nov 15, 2005 Nippon Cargo Airlines 10 8
May 30, 2006 Business Jet / VIP 9 8
Sep 11, 2006 Atlas Air 10 9
Nov 30, 2006 Volga-Dnepr Airlines 5 5
Dec 6, 2006 Lufthansa 19 19
Dec 28, 2006 Korean Air Cargo 7 6
Nov 8, 2007 Cathay Pacific Cargo 14 13
Dec 7, 2009 Korean Air 10 2
Jun 15, 2011 Arik Air 2
Sep 11, 2012 Air China 7 7
Nov 27, 2012 Saudia Cargo 2 2
Jul 9, 2013 Silk Way Airlines 5 3
Dec 27, 2013 Transaero Airlines 4
Oct 10, 2014 AirBridgeCargo Airlines 1 1
Totals 51 68 96

Data through the end of September 2015[1][132][133][134]

Sales and marketing

Cargo aircraft

Boeing holds a large share of the heavy air freighter market. The freighter version of the 747-8 has attracted orders from several cargo airlines; the plane has the benefit of similar training and interchangeable parts with the Boeing 747-400F. In addition, the 747 has a long history as a cargo aircraft, and remains popular among operators as it has greater cargo capacity and longer range than other freight aircraft.[93]

The recent recession in the U.S., combined with market softness in Europe and Asia,[135] has led to lower demand for air freighters as more shipments are made by sea. The world's air cargo fleet in 2012 was smaller than it was in 2003, defying Boeing's predictions. However, the proportion of very large freighters in that fleet has increased, and Boeing's dominant position in large, fuel-efficient freighters has offered the company an opportunity to protect its market share and its product line despite the market weakness.[136] For example, in March 2013, Boeing, Cathay Pacific Cargo and Air China entered into an agreement wherein three 747-8F aircraft were purchased, increasing Cathay's official order total to 13 aircraft. Eight 777F freighters were canceled, and five 777F purchase options were created. The eight canceled 777Fs were then picked up by Air China Cargo, which in turn sold seven 747-400BCF (passenger aircraft converted to freighters) back to Boeing. Boeing will use these aircraft as sources for spare parts. In December 2013, Cathay ordered one more aircraft to increase its order total to 14 -8Fs.[137][138]

Emirates SkyCargo ordered ten aircraft in October 2006, then sold the airplanes to Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) in July 2008 to be leased back.[139] DAE already had five of its own freighters on order since January 2008,[140] which they converted to 777F in November 2011.[141] In December 2012 DAE canceled five of the -8F order purchased from Emirates,[142] in May 2013. The remaining five were later canceled.[142] US based lessor Guggenheim Aviation Partners cut its order of four[140] -8Fs in half in December 2009, and canceled the remainder in January 2011 because of uncertainty surrounding the timing of the deliveries.[143] In September 2015, Nippon Cargo cancelled 4 of their 6 unfilled orders.[144]

At the 2015 Paris Air Show Volga-Dnepr signed an MoU for the purchase of 20 more 747-8F's but that order is yet to be finalised. [145]

Passenger aircraft

Compared to the freighter version, the passenger version of the 747-8 has received fewer orders. Airlines including Emirates and British Airways considered ordering the passenger version, but opted to purchase the Airbus A380 instead.[146][147] The 747-8 has also received several VIP orders from various customers. Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney acknowledged in a conference call to Boeing's investors in April 2008 that he would like to see more orders for the 747-8 Intercontinental.[148]

On March 7, 2011, it was announced that Air China had agreed to purchase five 747-8Is;[149][150] after approval by the Chinese government, the order was confirmed 18 months later.[151] Air China has agreed to purchase an additional two 747-8Is after approval by the Chinese government and confirmed by Boeing.[152]

On June 20, 2011, at the Paris Air Show, Boeing announced that it had received two orders and 15 commitments from two different undisclosed users for the -8I.[153] On October 6, Arik Air was announced as the customer for two 747-8s; the airline was previously identified as an unidentified customer for the order at the Paris Air Show.[154] On November 8, 2011, it was reported that Transaero had preliminarily agreed to purchase four 747-8s.[155] In 2013, Arik Air reportedly converted its order for two 747-8s to two 777-300ERs,[156] though Boeing lists it as an 747-8 order as of March 2014.[1]

At the 2013 Paris Air Show, Korean Air agreed to order five 747-8 passenger versions, in addition to five ordered in 2009.[157] Korean Air and Boeing finalized the new -8 order in October 2013.[158]


On July 31, 2013, an Airbridge Cargo 747-8F experienced core engine icing that caused engine malfunctions and damage to three engines near Chengdu, China, while en route to Hong Kong; the aircraft landed safely at its destination. Boeing and General Electric are working on software changes to mitigate the effects of core engine icing.[159][160][161]


Comparison between four of the largest aircraft:
  Boeing 747-8
747-8I 747-8F
Cockpit crew Two
Seating capacity 605 (maximum)[n 1][162]
410 (3-class)[163]
Overall length 250 ft 2 in (76.3 m)
Wingspan 224 ft 7 in (68.5 m)
Wing area 554 m2 (5,960 sq ft)
Wing sweep 37.5°
Aspect ratio 8.47[164]
Height 63 ft 6 in (19.4 m)
Cabin width 20.1 ft (6.13 m)
Empty weight 470,000 lb (213,000 kg)[165]
Maximum takeoff weight 987,000 lb (448,000 kg)
Maximum landing weight 688,000 lb (312,000 kg) 757,000 lb (343,000 kg)
Maximum zero-fuel weight 651,000 lb (295,000 kg) 727,000 lb (330,000 kg)
Maximum structural payload 169,100 lb (76,700 kg) 295,800 lb (134,000 kg)
Maximum fuel capacity 63,034 US gal (239,000 L; 52,500 imp gal) 60,211 US gal (228,000 L; 50,100 imp gal)
Cruising speed
at 35,000 ft (10,700 m)
Mach 0.855
(570 mph or 917 km/h or 495 kn)
Mach 0.845
(564 mph or 908 km/h or 490 kn)
Maximum speed,
advised operating
Mach 0.90[166]
Range 7,730 nmi (8,900 mi; 14,300 km)
at MTOW with 410 passengers and baggage[163]
4,390 nmi (5,050 mi; 8,130 km)
at full payload (295,800 lb or 134,000 kg)
Cargo capacity 5,705 cu ft (162 m3) 30,177 cu ft (855 m3)
Service ceiling 43,100 ft (13,100 m)[167]
Engines (4×) GEnx-2B67
Thrust (4×) 66,500 lbf (296 kN)

Sources: Boeing specification page,[85] airport report[168][169]

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ Maximum seating is based on certification.[162]
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External links

External video
First "flight" of 747-8 Intercontinental
747-8 Intercontinental rollout ceremony webcast
  • Boeing 747-8 on
  • Boeing 747-8, The Shape of the Future on
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