Boeing (NYSE: BA) today celebrated the arrival of the first of three specially modified 747-400 passenger jets that will be used to transport the large composite sections and wings of the all-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The cavernous cargo bay of the 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF) was revealed upon its arrival at Seattles Boeing Field.
The most significant change to the airplane is the new extended upper fuselage, which boosts the cargo capacity by volume to 65,000 cubic feet, more than three times the cargo capacity of a standard 747-400 freighter. A fleet of three LCFs will ferry 787 assemblies between Nagoya, Japan, Grottaglie, Italy; Wichita, Kan. and Charleston, S.C., before flying them to the Boeing factory in Everett, Wash., for final assembly. The first two LCFs will enter service in early 2007; the third will follow later.
Since the 787 launch in April 2004, 32 customers have logged 420 orders and commitments, of which 377 are firm orders valued at $59 billion at current list prices, making the Dreamliner the most successful commercial airplane launch in history.