Air Transport World

Boeing targets the Pacific with new 747-400.

Boeing targets the Pacific with new 747-400

Bigger and Smaller will come later for the 747 program, as Boeing now concentrates on Better and Longer in its development of the 747-400. In the first major redesign of the 747 since its inception in 1966, the dash 400 is getting a new cockpit, a significantly altered wing and an interior with flexibility and efficiency greatly enhanced.

The 747-400 will be Better, Longer and Heavier as well, it might be added, with engineers having recently found a fairly painless way to increase the maximum takeoff weight of the dash 400 by 20,000 lbs. When the fly-by-wire throttles go all the way forward on a 747-400 equipped with the maximum gross weight option, a full 870,000 lbs. of airplane, fuel and payload will ease down the runway.

Make no mistake about it, this is a long-haul airplane, one that will put important Asian and Pacific cities within nonstop reach of Europe and North America.

Boeing might have called this aircraft the Pacific Airplane. The motivation for its construction and the spur of the vast majority of its early orders was its ability to greatly improve the quality of service carriers could give their routes to and from the Pacific Rim region. Of the eight customers announced at presstime, five--Cathay Pacific Airways, Singapore Airlines, Northwest Airlines, UTA and Korean Air--either are located in the Pacific or concentrate on the Pacific. The other three--Lufthansa German Airlines, British Airways and KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines--also are expected to push their dash 400s on to Pacific routes. To date Boeing has nearly 70 announced and unannounced firm orders for the airplane, one year after launch, more than the dash 300 got in six years.

Extreme-range routes

The three target markets that helped define the dash 400's performance, according to Daniel L. Olasen, North American 747/767 marketing manager, were Singapore-London, Los Angeles-Sydney and Chicago/New York-Seoul. These markets can be served non-stop with the 747-400's 7,100-nautical mile range, but if limited to the previous high-weight option of 850,000 lbs., little or no cargo could be carried on those extreme-range routes.

The new maximum gross weight figure of 870,000 lbs. was inspired by Qantas' desire to fly cargo on the Los Angeles-Sydney route. Now, if Qantas joins the list of dash 400 customers, it can carry about 17,000 lbs. of cargo on that route, according to Boeing's Jack F. Gucker, director of engineering, Everett Div. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.