Despite a rocky start — two years of production delays and launch customer Cargolux’s “rejection” of its initial order — Boeing has delivered 14 747-8 freighters in the sixth months since the first new cargo plane rolled out of the hangar in Seattle. These freighters have been received by five carriers: AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Cargolux and Korean Airlines.
In a press release, Boeing said the 747-8F has exceeded expectations. Along with surpassing dispatch reliability targets for its first six months of service, the freighter is more fuel-efficient than Boeing predicted.
Bruce Dickinson, vice president and chief project engineer for the 747-8, elaborated on the latter aspect. “We knew these first airplanes would give our customers double-digit improvements in fuel burn over the 747-400,” he said in a statement. “But our in-service performance numbers show that these airplanes are a full percentage point more efficient than even we predicted.
“That might not sound like much, but that can save an airline millions of dollars a year,” Dickinson continued.
The 747-8F — which offers 16-percent more capacity than its predecessor, the 747-400 freighter — also reached another milestone recently: London Heathrow Airport became the 200th airport to permit its operations.