The Chart:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Missing 747-8s

Looking at Matt Cawby's latest flight line, there are two missing 747-8s at Paine Field. Silk Way line 1496 (RC642) 4K-SW882, and NCA line 1489 (RC528) JA18KZ. Line 1489 could either be in the paint hanger or stall 115 getting engines.

In March, we saw two deliveries. Lufthansa took line 1497 (RC033) D-ABYN, and Korean Air Cargo took line 1481 (RC548) HL7623. Line 1481 was a bit of an overdue delivery herself, having rolled out in May of 2013, only to sit around for six months.

Other than that, 747 activity at KPAE has been pretty slow. I suppose at 1.5 frames a month, it will most likely stay slow. The only really exciting thing right now is how eagerly Lufthansa is snapping up their frames. Talk over on says the 747-8 is doing very well for them, performing better than advertised while making large improvements to the profitability of their routes.

The first 747-8I for Air China (line 1499!) should roll out really soon.


  1. According to AERO Magazine, LH 748's burn 16% less fuel than their 744's.

    1. Do they specify in what context? Total fuel burn (like a 748 would burns 84 gallons to a 744's 100 gallons to travel the same distance at max weight)? It must be, because Boeing already claims the 748 beats the A380 by 16%, and I know they aren't saying the per seat cost of an A380 equals a 744.

    2. Oddly enough this is the same question asked by the person who posted the remark on an Airliners.Net thread. It is not clear that this is the case,

      I Suspect they mean Total fuel burn and not Fuel burn per seat which varies with the aircraft configuration and not the total Airframe/ Engine Combination. Also note at the end of the thread, one of the posters has piloted both types (744 & 748) and confirms quite clearly that there is a fuel burn margin in favor of 748.

    3. Right, and that's great news. If you can get a bigger plane with substantially more passengers (especially more higher yielding passengers) and more cargo to a destination for 16% less fuel, that's a huge improvement in potential profitability. I'd love to see some real CASM/etc numbers from Lufthansa. The piano-x simulated ones posted on for the 747-8 always seem way too unimpressive to me.

    4. Yeah, I think those numbers were from the original frames, including the extra weight and the SFC miss of the engines. Do you have a link to that thread still? I have one to an old (long) discussion from before the 8I had it's EIS. It would be nice to see some updated numbers for sure, especially from some real-world usage, however it is good to hear that from a revenue standpoint, LH is extremely happy with them it seems. Those numbers may actually be just as important when it comes to fleet planning.

    5. Hard to tell if its really a genuine claim, and yes I too would like to see some real CASM numbers from LH not just the ones people make using some software and a calculator.

      If anything Boeing needs to be the one pushing this, not some magazine in German because Lufthansa is German. I mean, have you been to Boeing's website and looked at their webpage for the 748? They don't even have range rings for the 748i to compare with the 744!!

      That's just sloppy marketing, and assumes that Airline CEO's are people who are smart enough to figure it out for themselves (by buying Airbus instead). Also if this claim of a fuel burn advantage of 16% is really true, that one hell of an omission to make, given that the first thing someone who wants to refer such information would do, is go to the Boeing website to look for said information i the first place.

      It just shows that Boeing is not interested in pushing the 748 and is more interested in selling 737Max and 777X derivatives, and that only Lufthansa is selling the 748 for Boeing. :(

    6. I agree, Boeing should take better care of its website in general, however I don't believe the neglect is solely on the 747 side of things. I just think they don't update it too frequently.

      With respect to how it affects sales, I would hope that most fleet planners and decision-makers aren't going to Boeing's public website for their information. :-)

    7. I can just picture Lufthansa's fleet planner, getting the go ahead for 30 new widebodies, loading up and to start browsing what's available. Maybe he'd go to amazon to check customer reviews and ratings as well before making his final decision.

    8. I'm sure none of you play poker or chess for that matter :D

      The does Not end there of course. There are other instances of this neglect.

      1) Airshow appearances:

      The 748 has had only 1 airshow appearance in Paris in 2011. How many Airshows did the A380 appear in? I lost count, it even appeared at Oshkosh, then flew to Washington DC. The 748 did not fly to Oshkosh, in Wisconsin, just a few hours away, from KPAE. For an American product that is supposed to compete with the Airliner that DID visit, that is a sham.

      By comparison, what kind of promotion did the 77W get? An entire World Tour. How much credibility is there in these demos? Not much, but it would says to any potential buyer, that here is my product and this is what its like.

      2) Online Promotion.

      The only website that promotes the 747 as the legend reborn in the guise of the 748I is this one.

      In fact this is the only Website with super cool graphics celebrating the Arrival of the 747-8. Where is Boeing's Version, supposedly celebrating 40 years of Aviation heritage? Its here, and it isn't even updated with the last known order, which is Cargolux's order for 1 frame or Transaero's order for 4 frames.

      Which of these websites does a better job? I'd pick the Lufthansa Website anyday. (Now where is Air China's promotional campaign? I'm sure it exists, but its nowhere nearly a sophisticated or jazzy as the the LH webpage). Instead what we get are press releases are articles like this:

      That's not very good if the product your trying to promote is apparently a dead end isn't it. And with press releases like the last groans of a dinosaur, that's not the way to sell a 747.

      3) Boeing Website.

      Boeing's website is NOT just a website that is for public consumption, on there, you will find some very technical information on their products, such as their Airport Planning guides, which are regularly updated. so yes professional people do refer to this site for info.

      Want more details of their products?Just send an email. That is how it works. The info on there is to give a First impression, to their customers, and this IS for their customers to use in their discussions and meetings, before asking for a formal presentation for the more accurate data used to make a buying decision. That is All. Also note that it will take time to prepare a proper presentation to a customer who may not in the end buy it, so that quick reference on that website? That is the one that sells the plane first.

      The info on there does not do the quick sell for the 747-8 at all. If I were to skip the 747-8 as a CEO, I would have to be unimpressed with it first, and to do that all I need to see are dull and boring presentations with few facts, vs Jazzy and colorful presentations of the machine that I am supposed to buy in its place laced with a plethora of projections taken from Gilligan's Island. You could argue that Boeing's own page does that, but those webpages I linked to yesterday, those pages were technically orientated and not like this page here:

      Which has no technical information on it at all.

      There is more, but I'm going to bed.

    9. I understand your passion, and if you really want to get them to do something about their website, you should direct a lot of that feedback to and Back around January, I did send them a short note asking about a couple of things, however I did not get a reply. I did follow up just recently, so we'll see where that goes.

      Regarding what I was saying about the website, please don't misunderstand. I do agree with you that sections of the website are not up to date and don't have the most recent data or information. All I was trying to say was that it isn't limited to the 747-8 section. Also, I never said there was no technical information on the site, quite the contrary, there is a lot of detail, both for planes and for orders, if one knows where to look on the multiple Boeing websites. However, I don't believe that the people in charge of making decisions regarding fleet planning for the airlines really use any of the data on this site as their sole source when it comes to making their decisions. Sales campaigns usually bring all the relevant information to a customer, or conversely, if an airline issues an RFP, they are asking the manufacturer to provide them the details that they want. That is where the majority of the information will come from. Well, that and other customer opinions and feedback, which is why I am of the opinion that a lot of airlines may have been waiting to see how Lufthansa ended up liking their frames.

      Now, the question is if the delayed EIS of the 747-8 and the additional delay for the PIP have made it such that there is only a very small market for the 8i, or if Boeing is correct in its read and has a plan to continue to push the 8i in its own space as part of their overall widebody plan.

      As to the press, yes a lot of them are making light of the current slow order rate for the 747-8. Unfortunately, with the production rate decreases, there really isn't much for them to talk about. Although I do admit to being quite surprised that more wasn't made of the firming of 6 Intercontinental orders at the end of 2013. There wasn't even a short blurb about it in most places, both online and in the mainstream media. However, in this case, perhaps there is a plan. Maybe, some of that is being saved for some other announcement going forward, who knows. It will be more interesting to see how the press handles the introduction of new the new 8i airlines coming up, such as Air China and Korean, as well as if there is any big celebration around the 1500th frame.

      Finally, regarding airshows, in the most recent handful of years, Boeing has been very low key about doing displays, leaving it more to the airlines I believe. For the 747-8 in particular, maybe there are simply no suitable frames available since the test frames are either gone (BBJ/customers) or were being used for actual tests (1435), and the customers were actually using their frames? Just speculation on my part.

      Anyway, hope that helps a bit, at least in terms of explaining what I was trying to get at with respect to the website.

      And yes, I do play poker and chess. :-)

    10. Yeah I didn't mean to belittle your point Charlie, it is a good one. I was just being facetious. Boeing does seem to speak out of both sides of their mouths about the 747-8, so to speak, with their actions. Logically from this, I'd say the positive actions (like talking about more potential upgrades, or the expanding cargo market target that keeps getting pushed back year by year) are to hide/distract from the true state of the future of the program, while the negative ones (like barely giving it a passing remark in quarterly profit remarks) are a result of it. But as a big fan, I'm hoping I'm reading this wrong.

    11. Now I wouldn't say your wrong now, just facetious :D

      Hey Mario,

      Boeing is just being lazy and typical of what they do, minimal effort and hoping for maximal results, I mean Just look at the 737!!

      They are lazy and have been sitting on that wide behind looking all dolled up and going nowhere, as far as the 748 is concerned. Everything is A OK because it was rolled out the door and took off. Imperfections? 'What Are Talking about HERE!!'

  2. According to line 1499 should be rolled out today! 747Classic says it is scheduled for a July delivery.

  3. Also, potentially more news that the cargo market may be improving. Maybe more frames for Saudia eventually?

    1. Hopefully they pick up ine 1437. It would make sense to have all three of the Atlas rejects.

    2. Air China #1 is Out.

  4. Ah, speaking of the lack of coverage around the late 6 Intercontinental commitments last year, I did recently see a quick blurb in a FG article that touched on the total orders last year.

    "Despite being slightly smaller than the 747-8I, if the 777-9X delivers on its operating cost promises then it will clearly pile pressure on the Boeing’s four-engined legend. But Boeing is confident the 747 programme can cope with some sibling rivalry.

    “We’ve positioned the 747-8I to be 15% larger in seat count than the larger 777X, the -9X,” says Scott Fancher, who is Boeing’s general manager of airplane development. “The 747-8 is also a great freighter – it’s a great ‘switcher’, to use an American baseball term – and that gives it great legs in the marketplace to run the distance.”

    Tinseth says Boeing was pleased to secure 17 gross orders for the 747-8 during 2013, which is “right in line with our production rates”, but he warns that it has “got to do that every year” to ensure continued production of the big jet is viable."

    So, it does seem that they do have the 8I slotted into a space in their overall widebody strategy, as well as counting on the cargo market to pick back up. It would seem that if they want the 747-8 program to secure that level of orders every year, they would need to have a plan for that as well, and I assume would be working towards at least hitting that number.

  5. Well this all gels very well with what I was saying about Boeing being lazy.

    They make a product that is only 15% smaller but a whole lot cheaper to run and hopes that people will buy the 748 because of that 15% difference?

    Look at Air Canada. They took an off the shelf 77W. Stuffed it with 453 seats, and claim that this machine makes money for them. I'm sure it does, but as far as pax appeal goes it has to be one of the worst in the industry. This is what Airlines are doing to their planes, stuffing them full with Pax And Freight by using the next smaller size down the chain and it does not take a genius to say that it Works. The Airplane, they claim is the step up from this is the A380, not the 748, as in many discussions I've read, that airplane is a dead end, so they say.

    So with that the freight market, is what Boeing is turning to. I would not argue that they are wrong about that, because that is NOT where they made the mistake with 748, and it has Nothing to do with Airbus. It has everything to do with their product placement. A slightly larger plane, with dramatically increased costs of operation. Its behind in terms of what it brings to the Market, in terms of capacity, avionics and range. They can postulate that with an annual sales of units in the teens that this will save it. You know of course, that they are trying to Kill it, by shrinking it market share it will not be long before it is no longer relevant, then it will be easy to turn out the lights.

    Also look at what is being offered in its place, an Aircraft built in Europe, that has not even flown commercially. They argue that the smaller plane has different economics, it is going to carry more traffic although it is smaller, by making it fly more frequencies. In most of the RFP's I have read about the VLA is not the Airplane of choice, however when an RFP for a VLA does come through from a genuine Airline, there are reasons why they have been bought, to justify the purchase. No Justification was ever needed to change the entire Business Model to suit the smaller plane now, just that they want the smaller cooler looking plane to do the Job of the 747. If in future the Industry grows, to such a point where the traffic is literally bursting at the seams, there will only be one answer and it is not the Durum wheat Duo-plane criss-crossing the sky x times a day because it has too few seats.

  6. Well, again, I don't think this is necessarily a 747 specific thing. That is simply how Boeing has decided their widebody strategy is going to be. They have a different frame for about every 40-50 seats by their measurements, starting with the 787-8 and moving all the way up to the 747-8. If you go by normalized seat measurements, or better yet by useable cabin area, I believe the percentage differences are pretty similar between each frame that they have as well.

    I would hope that they weren't guessing at these numbers, and that the percentage difference is what they have found to be useful to customers for an increase in lift.