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Why Is The 747 Still Used?  
User currently offlineDeltaBOS From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 21 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 14503 times:

I understand the mystique of flying in an airplane such as the 747, and I fully understand that it was the first reliable long-hauler, and obviously the most notable aircraft in the modern world save MAYBE the Concorde, but how do the costs of maintaining an older aircraft like the 747 compare to those of the equally-as-serviceable 777 or A330/A340? Wouldn't the more modern airplanes seem to be safer and much more cost efficient in this day and age? I'm COMPLETELY ignorant about this subject and am somewhat curious as to where the motivation lies to keep the B747 up and running.

35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKcrwflyer From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3762 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 14181 times:

well, i hate to say it but as the nw dc-9's, for some airlines, the 744's might be paid for.

And for other airlines, if youve halfway paid off a 744, why give it back, and buy a new a340 or 777, it simply just costs money.

Even maintinance fees on an old 747 is less than buying a new aircraft.


User currently offlineUnattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2311 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 14173 times:

Many of the "older" 747's are paid for. A new aircraft costs money, so if an airline has (over the years) completely paid for the 747-200 or -300, that aircraft is free to use. That is just one reason.

Many crews (flight, service, maintenance) are fully trained on certain types of aircraft and retraining those crews for a new aircraft costs money.



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlineUnattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2311 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 14156 times:

 Smile Kcrwflyer

just a minute too late, sigh



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlinePhilsquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 14130 times:

Are you talking about the 744s too? If so, I guess I'd argue the term "old" since they're still being produced.

I think right now in a CASM basis the -400 is probably the cheapest there is. As far as a freighter goes, there is nothing comparable in terms of payload, range and costs.



User currently offlineGemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 5554 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 14094 times:

How about because:

1) Its not old? The 747-400 is still in production, QF reciving its latest less than a year ago and there are rumors of more 744ER orders to come!

2) For some missions it is still the most economical beast there is. For QF what else is there for Kangaroo Route & Pacific services? The 772LR MIGHT offer some advantages, but there are still EPTOS and capacity issues on both Kangaroo & Pacific services, for current 777 models.

Gemuser




DC23468910;B72172273373G73873H74374475275376377L77W;A319 320321332333343;BAe146;C402;DHC6;F27;L188;MD80MD85
User currently offlineAlessandro From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 14030 times:

B744 flew first time 1989, thats not that long ago. I think the B747 will continue to be produced at least 10 more years, last one made a cargo one...


User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3522 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13949 times:

Not to mention you've got airports like Narita and Haneda in Japan that are slot-limited.. in those kinds of situations going from a 747 to a 777 is basically kicking those extra passengers and their fares out the door. And you're talking about a 150 seat difference in some configurations.

And yes, the 744 is still in production so it's not "old" and unserviceable... there is only one open order to a passenger carrier right now but most 744's are nowhere near the end of their useable lifespan. And on a lot of routes, there's no better plane flying right now even if the 744's were old. If all of ANA and JAL's 744D's suddenly fell apart on the tarmac, they'd probably have no choice but to buy a bunch of new 744D's to replace them. Same is true for a lot of other Asian carriers that effectively can't run certain routes any more frequently than they do, along with some western carriers (such as BA and NW) that fly to a lot of those Asian destinations.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineJasepl From India, joined Jul 2004, 3582 posts, RR: 40
Reply 8, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 13833 times:

Also, on long routes where frequency isn't really an issue, it's better to have one big plane than two smaller ones. Whilst the cost of maintaining 2 777s isn't nearly double that of maintaining one 747, it probably is somewhat higher per seat. Often, its a simple case of having two planes where one can do the job.

User currently offlineOrdpark From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 565 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 13808 times:
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Can't speak for everyone, but at UA the new lease rates we have on the 744's have made them very economical to operate...not to mention that they are without a doubt the most awesome commercial aircraft ever built.

User currently offlineBaw716 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2026 posts, RR: 27
Reply 10, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 13624 times:

There are a lot of great points here...my two cents has to do with the economics of an older 747 vs. a new 777 (since those were the two aircraft that were compared):

There is a point in the ownership of an aircraft (or any vehicle for that matter), where the cost of operation is substantially less than a new aircraft. The older aircraft is usually paid for, the newer one is not. So the new aircraft has high ownership costs. Also, within the scope of that timeframe, the maintenance costs are fairly low, reducing cost of ownership. Once the airframe gets above a certain number of cycles (take offs and landings), the maintenance and operating costs start to go up and at that point, the aircraft is usually refitted for cargo or sold.

.




David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
User currently offlineBill142 From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 8434 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 13571 times:

Whilst the cost of maintaining 2 777s isn't nearly double that of maintaining one 747

Not to mention having to fork over more in payments to Boeing, Lessors or Finance companies as 777's cost more then 747's don't they?
Also if the 777 and A340 aren't in your fleet you have to train crews in the aircraft, buy new spares and other additional equpitment. So if you have 747's you might as well keep them as they are still very good aircraft.


User currently offlineDuke From Canada, joined Sep 1999, 1155 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 13554 times:

Plus, many of the older, less economical 747s have already been scrapped or otherwise withdrawn from use.

User currently offlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7073 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 13520 times:

The 747 is a great aircraft, and I believe that the 747 advanced will be out in a few years. So we hav't seen the end of it just yet.

User currently offlineSquirrel83 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 13492 times:

From my understanding a 747 is quite cheaper to operate than a 777-2 . . Correct me if im wrong ~

User currently offlineChicago757 From United States of America, joined May 2003, 381 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 13447 times:

Because the 747 is just a f+cking beauty and kills the A330/A340


Go White Sox!!!!
User currently offlineJrMafia90 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 13286 times:

I think the 747 is the best aircraft. Why shouldnt it still be used?

User currently offline767-332ER From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2030 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 12613 times:


It's like you still see old cars on the road...people don't wanna pay the costs for new ones. Same with the airlines.



Twinjets...if one fails, work the other one twice as hard!!!
User currently offlineJasepl From India, joined Jul 2004, 3582 posts, RR: 40
Reply 18, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 12512 times:

Because the 747 is just a f+cking beauty and kills the A330/A340

Here we go again! I was waiting for someone had to go and wreck a perfectly good discussion. So, airlines are using the 747 only because it looks pretty and "kills" the Airbuses? Good God! All the while, of course, we must ignore the fact that the 747 and 330 are so completely apples and oranges, yet agree all around that Airbus are crap. Just because.


User currently offlinePIA777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1738 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 10863 times:

Because the 747 is one of the best planes ever built.

PIA777



GO CUBS!!
User currently offlineKEESJE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 10831 times:

Because it is the only 350-500 seat long range aircraft available.





User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 21, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 10776 times:

I think KEESJE hit the nail on the head. The A380 is all well and good, but if you can fill 430 seats today, what else can you use?


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7737 posts, RR: 16
Reply 22, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 10749 times:

Most 747s flying in passenger service these days are -400s... which began rolling off the Everett line in 1989. Hardly old by most measures. Fewer and fewer carriers are flying the older models in regular passenger service these days.

As has been discussed above the 747, especially the -400 is relatively efficient. Given that in most international configurations it is seating ~380-420 passengers its marginal costs (CASM) are very competive. Plus there are many routes out there that demand 400 seats per flight, something that a 777-200 or A340-300 cannot do. With at least 100 fewer seats per flight you have in effect lost the capacity of 2 747 flights over the course of the week.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineStearmanNut From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 352 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 9944 times:

I would say that using an older 747 to generate revenue should be profitable despite the maintenance issues. It is considerably more profitable to operate an aircraft that has had the purchase debt against it retired. At that point the only chargebacks to the airplane is the maintenance and peripheral operating costs.

Case in point: DL is now going back to some retired (debt free) MD11's and allowing leased 777's go back. Again, it is cheaper and more profiable to operate an aircaft that is paid for.



If wishes were horses, a Tail Dragger I would fly...
User currently offlineNWA757 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 172 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 9542 times:

The 747 is a good aircraft and most are owned by airlines. Hence reducing their bills. Furthermore, most passengers enjoy the legacy the 747 has to offer.


Fly High!
25 Warren747sp : Passenger preference.! Even VS choose to hold this type in their fleet.
26 Abiomike : Some airlines like to market their fleets as among the youngest in the world. Therefore they are buying 777s, 744s and A340s and moving older 747s out
27 NWA757 : PASSENGER PREFERENCE!!
28 Boeing nut : As KEEJSE stated, it's the only 400 seat aircraft available in the world.
29 Baw716 : Squirrel83 I would like to try to answer your question re: cost of operation 747 v. 777-200. The short answer is yes and no. It depends on what versio
30 BandA : Baw716, now thats a well detailed answer... good info! personally, the day they stop flying 747 pax, would be one of the saddest day in my life... I r
31 DeltaBOS : Thanks so much for the info guys it is well appreciated!
32 Carpethead : JAL and NW will have 747s flying into the next century.
33 Lurch : Boeing are going to build a super transporter version of the 747-400 to transport large sections of the 7E7 from factory to factory which will be a do
34 Klaus : Lurch: Boeing are going to build a super transporter version of the 747-400 to transport large sections of the 7E7 from factory to factory which will
35 Alessandro : Lurch, I think the # of cycles is also more limited on the Belugas compared with the B744.
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