The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has completed firm configuration of the 747-8 Freighter airplane's design. Boeing achieved this milestone after a year of collaboration with airline customers and suppliers to determine the optimal configuration.
By completing firm configuration, Boeing has completed the major trade-studies needed to finalize the airplane's performance capability. This allows Boeing and its suppliers to begin detailed design of parts, assemblies and other systems for the 747-8 Freighter. Once completed, the detailed designs will then be released to Boeing suppliers and factories to begin production of the airplane.
"We designed the 747-8 Freighter to improve upon the 747 family's strong leadership in the air cargo market," said Dan Mooney, 747/747-8 Program vice president. "The 747-8 is designed to deliver 14 percent lower ton-mile costs than the 747-400 Freighter. In fact, the 747-8 Freighter will enjoy the lowest ton-mile costs of any freighter, giving operators unmatched profit potential."
The 747-8 Freighter will be longer than the 747-400F by 5.6 meters (18.3 feet) and enjoy a maximum structural payload capability of 140 metric tonnes (154 tons) with a range of 8288 kilometers (4,475 nmi). It also will feature16 percent more revenue cargo volume than its predecessor. The additional 121 cubic meters (4,225 cubic feet) of volume means the airplane can accommodate four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets.
"This milestone is a tribute to the efforts of the 747-8 team, the launch customers and our suppliers," said Corky Townsend, 747 Program chief project engineer. "With the November marking the one-year anniversary, the 747-8 Program has made significant progress in its development."
During the program's first year, Boeing completed the bridge from the 747-400 to the 747-8 by garnering 16 orders for 747-400 Freighters and 747-400 ER Freighters. Boeing also secured orders for 44 747-8 Freighters and three 747-8 Intercontinentals. In addition, the program completed preliminary design for the 747-8 Freighter and two rounds of wind-tunnel testing.
The 747-8 Program, which includes the 747-8 Intercontinental passenger airplane and the 747-8 Freighter, was launched in November 2005 by Cargolux Airlines and Nippon Cargo Airlines. Boeing will deliver the first 747-8 Freighter in Cargolux in late 2009.
747-8 Freighter: The 747-8 Freighter improves on the current best-in-class 747-400F with 16 percent more payload capacity, due to a larger airframe that allows it to hold seven additional standard pallets while maintaining its customer-preferred nose-door-loading capability.
In addition, both the 747-8 Freighter and 747-8 Intercontinental (passenger) models provide improved fuel burn, achieved by an improved wing design and new engines -- General Electric's new GEnx engines, which deliver greater fuel efficiency, engine durability, weight reduction and lower overall operating costs than today's engines.