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Is The B747-400 Really That Much Of A "Gas Guzzler"?  
User currently offlinedkramer7 From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 117 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 25429 times:

Hi all

I see more and more statements dismissing the B747-400 as "gas guzzling".

My question is, was it always a gas guzzler? Or does the fuel consumption go up over time?

74 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinebristolflyer From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 2290 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 25400 times:

I'm sure the notion that it is now a gas guzzler is that aircraft and have been getting more and more efficient meaning older designs are left treading water. It used to be 'state of the art' when it was introduced, not it's long in the tooth and the fuel economy is nowhere near as good as today's offerings.


Fortune favours the brave
User currently offlineAADC10 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2065 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 25255 times:

The 744 was a reasonably efficient four engine aircraft in its time. 2 engine aircraft were more efficient but could not operate many routes under the old ETOPS rules. Under ETOPS 180 there are only a handful of routes that cannot be served with a twin. The 772 offers both greater efficiency and seating comfort over the 744 (and 748) and if you go 10Y on a 772 it beats the 744 by a wide margin. The A380 also beats the 744 in both aspects with the efficiency of larger volume.

User currently offlinePellegrine From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2341 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 24835 times:

Quoting dkramer7 (Thread starter):
B747-400 as "gas guzzling".

Comparatively now... The 77W will be gas guzzling given time.

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 2):
The 744 was a reasonably efficient four engine aircraft in its time.

It was extremely efficient for its time. As a derivative, it was top of its class for 20 years.



oh boy!!!
User currently offlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10342 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 24712 times:

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 2):
The A380 also beats the 744 in both aspects with the efficiency of larger volume.

But it's still not as graceful looking as the 744.        



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlinewarden145 From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 501 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 24682 times:

Quoting Pellegrine (Reply 3):
Comparatively now... The 77W will be gas guzzling given time.

There are some people already making that claim!! All I can say is "hindsight is 20/20"...on the one hand, look at how efficient a Rolls Royce Trent 1000 is compared to an RB211-524H as used in a 747-400. On the other hand, look at how efficient an RB211 is compared to a Pratt & Whitney JT9D....and how a JT9D compares to a JT3D, how a JT3D compares to a Wright R-3350, etc ad naseum. The point I'm trying to get at (and that others have made) is that what was state of the art 20 years ago would be considered inefficient by today's standards. No major carrier would even joke about putting a 707 on a route in 2013, but in the early 1960's it was arguably the most efficient aircraft available (certainly compared to the prop birds that were still around in large numbers at that point).

On a personal note, I've always had a soft spot for the 747...I know she has far more years behind her than ahead of her, but I still find it kind of sad how much hate some people pile on the Queen of the Skies...

Quoting mayor (Reply 4):
But it's still not as graceful looking as the 744.        

AMEN!!! Big grin OTOH to me, the only conventional jet that looks better than the 747 is the 707...but, I guess raw efficiency trumps art, sadly IMHO...

[Edited 2013-09-12 21:41:11]


ETOPS = Engine Turns Off, Passengers Swim
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 24785 posts, RR: 46
Reply 6, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 24655 times:

Simply put, the 744 is yesterdays plane. The economics are not there anymore for many operators.

Same how todays darling 77W shall be pushed out of the way one day also.

Its called progess.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10342 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 24427 times:

Quoting warden145 (Reply 5):
AMEN!!! Big grin OTOH to me, the only conventional jet that looks better than the 747 is the 707...but, I guess raw efficiency trumps art, sadly IMHO...

I actually like the CV880 better than the 707, but I'm talking of beauty before efficiency in this case, again.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlinePellegrine From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2341 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 24381 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
Simply put, the 744 is yesterdays plane. The economics are not there anymore for many operators.

Yes this is true in theory and going forward, yet in the 2000s and first half of the 2010s the 744 has remained a significant profitable element in many worldwide fleets.

Yes it is on the way out, and on a personal note, I will miss it.

As I have posted even before there was a 777X proposed, theoretically the A35J should spank the pants off the 77W.



oh boy!!!
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30524 posts, RR: 84
Reply 9, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 24326 times:
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Quoting dkramer7 (Thread starter):
My question is, was it always a gas guzzler? Or does the fuel consumption go up over time?

Older frames due see higher fuel consumption due to age (wear and tear on components and such).

zeke provided some fuel burn figures for various CX airframes and on a similar mission, the 747-400 burns about 3 tons more fuel per hour than the 777-300ER.


User currently offlinetrent1000 From Japan, joined Jan 2007, 544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 23797 times:

Although this is an old article now (June, 2012), it's still worth a look. It gives a comparsion of MH's 747 and A380 fuel consumption.

http://www.smh.com.au/travel/jumbo-j...-out-of-favour-20120620-20nx8.html


User currently offlinena From Germany, joined Dec 1999, 10630 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 23347 times:

In its heyday in the 90s, the 747-400 was as much a gas-guzzler as the 77W is today. Its simply technological progress which makes the 744 appear like that today. But its still a viable, reliable plane which works for many airlines.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
Simply put, the 744 is yesterdays plane. The economics are not there anymore for many operators.

Same how todays darling 77W shall be pushed out of the way one day also.

Its called progess.

That says everything. More words are not needed in this thread.


User currently offline1400mph From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2013, 700 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 22529 times:

With 50+ still in the BA fleet I'd like to know the figure for the boost to annual profit when their 744's are all replaced.

User currently offlinemorrisond From Canada, joined Jan 2010, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 22415 times:

Quoting 1400mph (Reply 12):

Yes what would the savings be if they replaced all there 744 with 779?


User currently offlineKarelXWB From Netherlands, joined Jul 2012, 10640 posts, RR: 30
Reply 14, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 22312 times:

Quoting na (Reply 11):
In its heyday in the 90s, the 747-400 was as much a gas-guzzler as the 77W is today.

Yes but nobody could really care because the price of fuel was way lower in the 90s.

Quoting 1400mph (Reply 12):
With 50+ still in the BA fleet I'd like to know the figure for the boost to annual profit when their 744's are all replaced.

It's no easy math. The 787s and A350s will burn up to 30% less fuel, but the 747s have been payed for meaning the new aircraft will have higher capital costs.



Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe.
User currently offlineSpeedbored From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2013, 248 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 22016 times:

Quoting 1400mph (Reply 12):
With 50+ still in the BA fleet I'd like to know the figure for the boost to annual profit when their 744's are all replaced.
Quoting morrisond (Reply 13):
It's no easy math. The 787s and A350s will burn up to 30% less fuel, but the 747s have been payed for meaning the new aircraft will have higher capital costs.

  

Initially, it would probably actually have a negative affect on their annual profit, rather than boosting it.

Let's take a hypothetical route on which BA are using one of their paid for 747s. It burns 1000 barrels of oil for each leg of the round-trip, which it does once a day. At today's oil proce of around $110 per barrel, that works out at $110 x 1000 x 2 x 365 = roughly $80M per annum fuel cost.

If they then replace that frame with a 777-9 with similar capacity, and manage to purchase it on a lease at the bargain basement rate of $2M per month, or $24M per annum, the additional lease cost for the new 777 is exactly the same as the fuel cost saving that BA would achieve if it is 30% more efficient. So there would be no difference at all to the bottom line.

But, as KarelXWB says, it's a complex equation involving a whole load more variables than just fuel efficiency.


User currently offlineairbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 8184 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 21745 times:

Quoting mayor (Reply 4):
But it's still not as graceful looking as the 744.

I disagree. Watching an A380 coming in for a landing is as beautiful as anything out there. Its smooth, graceful glide is unmatched by any other plane, IMO.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 9):
zeke provided some fuel burn figures for various CX airframes and on a similar mission, the 747-400 burns about 3 tons more fuel per hour than the 777-300ER.

But it can carry a lot more passengers too. Like the 752, it still has its niche missions in which the only thing that can do a 744's job, is another 744 or 748. But like the 752, those missions are shrinking.


User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8271 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 21410 times:
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It also depends on your route structure. Cathay will Long routes to the USA and Europe with 12 to 14 hours flying timr will find a 777 much more efficient. Lufthnsa and BA with many routes to the east coast of America with 7 to 10 hours flying time will find it efficient.

User currently offlinecmf From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 21158 times:

Quoting dkramer7 (Thread starter):
My question is, was it always a gas guzzler? Or does the fuel consumption go up over time?

It was an efficient aircraft at the time. But as many has stated it is a moving goal line and by today's standard it is no longer top of class.

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 2):
2 engine aircraft were more efficient but could not operate many routes under the old ETOPS rules.

You're missing the most important part. As a general rule bigger is more efficient per equal unit moved. It is much more efficient to have a single plain with 4 engines than it is to fly two planes with 2 engines to move the same amount of units.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
Its called progess.

  

Quoting KarelXWB (Reply 14):
Yes but nobody could really care because the price of fuel was way lower in the 90s.


That is not what I remember. I think cost of fuel has always been a concern and less use of fuel always being a major feature.


User currently offlinechieft From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 20068 times:
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It is interesting, that everybody here compares the B747-400 with the B777s and possibly the coming A350s.

The more I wonder about the fact, that the B744 successor should be the B748; but it is a big disappointment for Boeing on the passenger side. Virtually no airline is interested in this state-of-the-art B747 version. The A380 is a larger success.

The 2-wholers are the ones driving the market as they are more economical to operate. 4-wholers are the Dinosaurs of our time.

Beside the fuel matter, economics of an aircraft are also driven by other factors. If the capital costs, i.e., are low enough, the even higher costs for fuel and maintenance could still lead to an economical operation of B747-400s.

As an example I would take LH; their B744s are depreciated, so the capital costs are virtually non existent. Possibly a reason, why they still operate them successfully.

[Edited 2013-09-13 06:31:45]


Aircraft are marginal costs with wings.
User currently offlinewinstonlegthigh From United States of America, joined Nov 2012, 119 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 19469 times:

Quoting airbazar (Reply 16):
I disagree. Watching an A380 coming in for a landing is as beautiful as anything out there. Its smooth, graceful glide is unmatched by any other plane, IMO.

I had to see it to believe it. I agree, definitely graceful- almost majestic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdtoXiDNQoo

 

[Edited 2013-09-13 06:59:50]


Never has gravity been so uplifting.
User currently offlinecmf From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 18998 times:

Quoting chieft (Reply 19):
The 2-wholers are the ones driving the market as they are more economical to operate. 4-wholers are the Dinosaurs of our time.

A,net myth. Reality is that the most economical tool is using the right tool for the job. When the right plane is bigger than a two engine plane can handle then the four engine is usually the most economical tool. On the few occasions where an AN-225 is the right tool you need 6 engines. As it isn't economical to build a plane with 4 engines to replace it.


User currently offlineexFWAOONW From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 400 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 17854 times:

Quoting warden145 (Reply 5):
...No major carrier would even joke about putting a 707 on a route in 2013, but in the early 1960's it was arguably the most efficient aircraft available (certainly compared to the prop birds that were still around in large numbers at that point)....

I doubt that is true. The 707 and other early jets burned more fuel to go faster than their prop bretheren. In the "I want to go faster, too" world we have become, it was marketing that drove the switch to more jets not fuel economy.



Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
User currently offlineroseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9481 posts, RR: 52
Reply 23, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 17685 times:

If you go back in time to the mid 1980s, range was a big problem. Europe – East Asia was close to impossible. US – Asia outside of Japan was also a challenge. US – Australia/New Zealand was also a challenge.

Those routes were big core markets, but the only airplanes that had a chance of operating them nonstop were the extended range 747 SP along with the longer range DC-10-30ERs or DC10-40s and L1011-500s. Those airplanes were rare, and very inefficient since they traded passengers for range.

The 747-400 was the first airplane with transpacific range that didn’t sacrifice passengers and payload. Range alone could sell the airplane, and every long haul airline bought it. The oil shock of the 1970s was over and fuel burn was less of a priority. Nonstop was the mission. Accordingly, range was key to the design which meant the engine design was pushed for more and more thrust. Fuel efficiency increases range, but the emphasis was not on fuel economy like it has been with the 787 and 777 designs. It was on increasing MTOW and more thrust since the 747-400 was using the most powerful engines in production back in the 80s.

The result is a great airplane, but one that has high fuel burn. The 777, A330 and 787 all beat it.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently onlineAS737MAX From United States of America, joined Mar 2013, 292 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 17555 times:

Quoting roseflyer (Reply 23):
The 777, A330 and 787 all beat it.

And the reason why the 747-8i has not done very well is because Boeing let that market slip away to the 77W



38 Flights/37,891 Miles Flown
25 RamblinMan : Simple- Those are the aircraft which taking over missions from the 744. The fact that they look dissimilar or have fewer engines or whatever is compl
26 alfa164 : The "smooth, graceful glide" may be beautiful, but f you have to look at the aircraft itself... that ugly, odd-looking nose makes you want to vomit..
27 LH707330 : Exactly true, the 3350s were pretty efficient, but fuel was cheap, so the tradeoff on cool factor and transporting more people due to faster speeds t
28 warren747sp : The title goes to the A380 now!
29 lightsaber : "Gas Guzzler" is a catch all for the 744 having higher RASM. I should do some numbers... but while the 744 has been improved quite a bit in the last d
30 WildcatYXU : Actually, it was an AN-124.
31 Post contains images warden145 : With all due respect...you're correct from an economic standpoint, but what's wrong with people stating their personal preferences?
32 Post contains images NWAROOSTER : Boeing did not make the 747-8i available until well after the Airbus A380 was being marketed and sold. I have have heard that Airbus has not sold any
33 707lvr : We've compared the 747 with other Boeing models. What I would like to know is which airplane burns more fuel on a 6,000 mile flight with 400 passenger
34 tjh8402 : I'm sure the A380 probably will, but you'll make more $ off those passengers as a 400 seat A380 is going to be a very premium heavy configuration, wh
35 YULWinterSkies : There was also no twin engine a/c bigger than an A-300 or 763 in the late 80s. The 763ER had great range but ETOPS were limiting it a bit, and the A-
36 Post contains images cmf : Why it is very difficult to find the economics in making something similar with less engines. Obviously you have that 744 was only bought because of
37 Viscount724 : How did the DC-10-30ER trade passengers for range. CP converted several of their DC-10-30s to -ERs for use on routes like YVR-HKG. They had the same
38 RomeoBravo : It's shame the 744 is dying, it's a beautiful and unique aircraft. But it has basically been destroyed by the 77W. You just need to glance at the 2 ai
39 Stitch : Indeed it can, which is why airlines continue to operate the 747-400 where they can fill it. The 747-8 is hurt due to her high trip costs - like the
40 PGNCS : Nothing, except the thread is ostensibly about the economics of the aircraft, a subject that renders personal aesthetic preferences irrelevant. Exact
41 tortugamon : Cathay has been quoted in the latest Aspire article as indicating that their 77Ws have a25% lower trip cost and a 17% lower seat mile costs than their
42 Max Q : Its unfair and unrealistic to compare the B744 to the 77W. The comparison should be made to the B747 Classic in which case it was an enormous improvem
43 tortugamon : 77w is the most widely used 744 replacement. Why is it unfair if airlines are making that comparison ? In 1989 it was not it was not a gas guzzler. N
44 MD-90 : If your airline could fill it year round it was the most efficient passenger jet until the 773 came along. Its CASM was superior to the A343, 772, an
45 DarkSnowyNight : I'll buy that. Occasionally, I'll have reason to fly on one, and I'm not liking how much I have to remind myself that there was a time when I would b
46 Post contains images VV701 : From Keith Gaskell, "British Airways Its History, Aircraft and Liveries", Airlife (Shrewsbury), 1999, p. 42 "The [BA 747]-236s had also received upra
47 Post contains images cmf : Doesn't this mean they wanted the capacity as much or even more than range? If it was all about range they certainly could have traded the unwanted c
48 Max Q : Very interesting, the Classic 747's in their final, uprated versions were a quantum leap in capability compared to the early ones. Cx was operating t
49 Viscount724 : Late model 742s basically killed the market for the 747SP. Pan Am bought the SP to operate routes like JFK-NRT but the later 742s were also able to o
50 trex8 : JFK-Tokyo- Haneda. NRT didnt exist then!! They initially filed flight plans for ANC and if everything looked good, refiled en route and continued to
51 Viscount724 : Right. I should have referred to HND for Pan Am's initial 747SP service. But by the time NW and JL began 742 nonstop service with their late model 74
52 solarflyer22 : It was a great plane for its time but it's 25 years old so it's just not as efficient as it used to be. I have a strange question but here it goes, If
53 trex8 : NRT opened 78 dunno when JL and NW started those flights.
54 DocLightning : Not only that, but until 1997 there weren't any twins with the engine power to operate 744 stage lengths. Before the 744, only the 747-SP had that so
55 Max Q : In the early days of the 747 unplanned stops for refuelling were not uncommon. A great example of this was an American carrier operating from New York
56 SchorschNG : The B747-400 was very efficient in the late 1980ies. But the A340 and B777-200 were better in seat-mile cost. However, both served a different market
57 Post contains images EPA001 : That sums it up quite nicely. In 30 years the A35J & B77X are gas guzzlers. .
58 buckeyetech : This might have been discussed already, but is it possible for a 747 to cruise on two engines? How much longer would a hop across the pond be on two e
59 LH707330 : Yes, but it burns more fuel because you cruise lower and your dead engines cause more drag. A few years back a BA 744 flew LAX-LHR on 3 engines, but
60 Viscount724 : Excerpt from an article on CX in the September 9 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology: The airline is phasing out its 747-400s as new 777-30
61 shankly : Had the pleasure of flying a 744 and an A380 (both BA) a few weeks apart earlier this year and I guess the historical comparison must be the same as p
62 trex8 : Wouldnt a four holer flying on two engines by regulations require an mandated emergency landing????
63 CALPSAFltSkeds : Since I don't see fuel burn on this thread how about this? Taken from Boeing's website and using UA' s international configured aircraft for seat coun
64 Post contains links and images warden145 : VERY well put...thank you for your post I recall reading about that on BA's Wikipedia entry, but apparently it's since been edited out. IIRC there wa
65 trex8 : These cruise fuel burn figures used for calculations have been alluded to in other threads going bcak some years and are from a CX pilot and pertain t
66 LH707330 : Are those CX numbers ToC, ToD, or somewhere in the middle? It's a bit apples to oranges comparing a 333 to a 343 if it's ToC and the 343 is going an
67 Post contains images NWAROOSTER : The captain would have needed to make the final call on the failed engine and to divert the aircraft to another US airport based on what information
68 Stitch : Here are the full numbers as provided by zeke: 747-400: 11,100kg per hour (9,000 to 13,000 across the flight) 777-300ER: 8,100kg per hour (6,500 to 1
69 avek00 : I'd argue the most widely used 744 replacement is the 777-200ER. The 747 family -- including the -400 -- was bought every bit as much for range as fo
70 trex8 : OT bu tdoes anyone know if a 777A have less fuel burn (or more) than a heavier 772ER,just thinking that a late model 772ER may have had some aerodyna
71 Post contains links Stitch : The 777-200ER is not much heavier than a 777-200 in terms of empty weight, but the TOW can be up to 50 tons higher and the engines are a fair bit mor
72 Post contains images Schweigend : Thanks for the info. It also might show why UA will be switching from the 744 to the 772ER for SFO and LAX trips to SYD. With the full planes they al
73 sunrisevalley : Using 420 passengers the fuel load for a A380 for a 6000nm sector is ~166.6t For a 744 ~144t. The A380 has a 90% burn of the total fuel. I would assu
74 Post contains links Revelation : In CX Talks: Africa Routes, 77W & 777-9X, LCCs, Cargo (by LAXintl Sep 12 2013 in Civil Aviation) we read with regard to 744: And even as much as t
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