A Boeing exec reveals what's in store for the 747 jumbo jet and predicts that Airbus won't be able to deliver the rest of its A380s (BA)
- Boeing’s latest market forecast says global demand for passenger and cargo jets will reach 42,730 aircraft over the next 20 years. The total value of this potential business is an astounding $6.3 trillion.
- Boeing expects only 60 of those planes to be passenger jets in the same category as the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380.
- Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president of marketing, believes the 747’s future as a passenger plane will be as a VIP private jet.
- According to Tinseth, the forecast takes into consideration Boeing’s belief that there isn’t enough demand for Airbus to deliver the rest of its A380s on order.
On Tuesday, Boeing released its latest market forecast for the next 20 years. In total, the US aviation giant expects global demand for jets to reach 42,730 aircraft over the next two decades. The total potential value: a whopping $6.3 trillion.
Of that 42,730, only 60 are expected to be jumbo jets. That’s right, Boeing predicts that global demand for passenger aircraft comparable in size to its iconic 747 and the Airbus A380 will be three planes a year.
According to Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president of marketing, the 747-8’s market appeal in the passenger-hauling business may be limited to work as an ultraluxury private jet.
“The 747-8 Intercontinental is in our lineup — we see it mostly as a VIP opportunity,” Tinseth told Business Insider at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow.
Since 2005, Boeing has taken 150 orders for the 747-8, the latest incarnation of the jumbo jet. Of those, only 47 have been passenger planes. In fact, the company hasn’t landed a new airline customer for the plane since Air China placed an order in 2012. Currently, Boeing has zero orders on the books for the passenger-carrying 747-8I.
Also baked into Boeing’s market forecast, according to Tinseth, is the belief that there won’t be enough demand for Airbus to deliver more than the 100 A380 superjumbos still on order.
“We don’t believe Airbus will deliver the rest of their backlog on A380s,” Tinseth said.
Airbus did not immediately respond to a request to for a comment about Tinseth’s prediction.
Fortunately for Boeing, it has a ready replacement on deck.
“The big airplane of the future for the aviation industry is going to be the Boeing 777-9,” said Tinseth, a veteran aviation executive. “It carries 400 passengers. It flies further than the 747 and the A380 does today.”
Tinseth explained: “The twin-engine, twin-aisle economics of that airplane just beats the big four-engine aircraft, and it’s just the reality of the market.”
According to Tinseth, the large jumbo jets are useful in specific cases where there is airport congestion. But most airlines prefer to give their customers the option of more frequent flights, making smaller wide-body jets like the 787 more popular.
Over the past year, the jumbo jet officially ended passenger service with US airlines, with both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines sending their aging fleets of 747-400s into retirement. Foreign carriers including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air China, Korean Air, and Lufthansa still operate the aircraft.
Though the 747’s future in passenger service seems a bit grim, the plane is expected to thrive as a cargo jet.
“The future of the 747 is in the cargo business,” Tinseth said.
Boeing expects there to be a market for about 980 new freighters in the coming years. A good number of those could be the 747.
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