This year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo, the completions event held in Hamburg, Germany, for the past five years, opened to record crowds last month, and at the same time marked its last appearance under the United Kingdom International Press (UKIP) banner.
Computer-generated virtual cabin concepts for Boeing’s latest large bizliners are appearing with some regularity as the order book for the executive/VIP versions of the company’s 787 and 747-8 grow.
One of the most recent is a 787 interior from BMW Group DesignworksUSA, created for a fictitious Russian client in his mid-30s–a global traveler who would be spending a significant amount of time in the air.
It can take up to two years to outfit a VIP widebody jet. Even the video featuring the Andrew Winch Designs scheme for a Boeing 787 on the Lufthansa Technik (LHT) booth here (No. 1240) took four months to complete. LHT has a widebody slot open in September, but it is already the subject of negotiations and may be taken soon.
It’s really, really big, and as an executive transport, the giant Airbus A380–unveiled in Toulouse, France, last month– will be the biggest and most complex challenge ever to roll into an independent completion center hangar to be outfitted for executive or personal use.
Marco Cavazzoni says to mark his words: “We’ll deliver the first 747-400 Special Freighter on December 13. Cathay Pacific Airways will put it into revenue service within a couple of days.” Cavazzoni, who leads the 747 passenger-to-freighter conversion program for Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, added, “We’re told that such a firm date is unusual…customers will keep that date in their pocket.”
The General Electric GEnx turbofan is one of the two new engine families under development for the 787, but will be the sole option for the new 747, in a 66,500-pound-thrust version which is designated GEnx-2B67. It has the same core but a different fan and fan case.
As Airbus prepared to parade the A380 in Dubai, Boeing finally launched the Advanced 747 as a serious competitor. At a hastily called low-key unveiling in London last Tuesday, Alan Mulally, the president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, announced orders for 18 B747-8 Freighters worth $5 billion from Cargolux and Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA). Orders for the new passenger version will follow next year, he confidently predicted.
Three years had passed since Boeing sold any passenger-carrying 747s when the company surprised the pundits last November by launching the 747-8 on the strength of a pair of orders from two cargo carriers.
Boeing believes that its latest 747 iteration–the 747-8F–could become the freighter of choice among cargo airlines. This assertion by commercial airplanes division president Alan Mulally is not surprising, given that the launch orders for 10 and six aircraft respectively from Cargolux and Nippon Cargo have now been backed by a Heads of Agreement for 10 aircraft from Emirates.
Boeing last month quietly booked a single order for a 747-8 “Intercontinental” jet– its first for a passenger 747 in several years and thought to be a VIP variant for Qatar Airways. Boeing believes it can sell 450 examples of the newly stretched 747-8.