CX747
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Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:06 am

Over the past several months, I have been reading on this forum that the 747-400 is old and guzzles gas. Most of the time, these comments come after an airline has opted to replace 744s with 777-200ERs or 77Ws. I'm opening up this thread to have a discussion on the merits of the 747-400. Where does the aircraft currently stand in economic viability? How does a fully loaded 747-400 compare to a 777-300ER or 777-200ER on LHR-HKG or LHR-JFK? What has led airlines like Air New Zealand to opt for 777s on their flagship routes over the 747-400s?

Also, what type of improvements will the 747-8 bring to the table? How does the paper information of the 747-8 stack up against the 77W?
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
FriendlySkies
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:16 am

The first 747-400 was delivered in early 1989, so the oldest one out there is not even 20 years old.

That said, it has 4 older engines and compared to the 777s it probably burns a bit more gas. But I haven't heard anything to make me believe they are exceptionally less efficient than a 777 or A340. The higher number of seats probably helps to offset that a bit.

I believe the 747-8 is supposed to be 10% more efficient than the 744? That's of course almost all due to the GEnx engines, but some other design improvements have been made.
 
AADC10
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:27 am

Obviously fuel burn is an issue and CASM is worse than a 777 but better than a 767. The other problems include more direct long haul international flights, which makes it harder to keep a 744 filled and a slightly too narrow width so most airlines cram 10 abreast with 17" seats vs. 18" to 18.5" Y seats on most 777s and 767s.

If a widebody fuselage is somewhere in between, airlines will always cram in more seats like the 787. I remember 747s in the 1970s that had only 9 seats abreast with around 36" pitch. After deregulation, almost all are 10 abreast often with 31" pitch. The 777 is a good width because it is too narrow for most airlines to attempt 10 abreast but wide enough to allow 18.5" wide seats.
 
PC12Fan
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:29 am

Quoting CX747 (Thread starter):
Is The 747-400 OLD?

Umm, ................. no. With that mentality, you should think the A320 is old as well. First flight of this modern marvel was twenty years ago.
Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
 
EI321
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:32 am

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 3):
Quoting CX747 (Thread starter):
Is The 747-400 OLD?

Umm, ................. no. With that mentality, you should think the A320 is old as well.


The A320 is much more advanced though!
 
FriendlySkies
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:48 am

Quoting EI321 (Reply 4):
The A320 is much more advanced though!

Only the fly-by-wire system...the rest is pretty similar. And no, that flight limiter computer or whatever it's called is not advanced. :P
 
JRDC930
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:24 am

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 3):
Umm, ................. no. With that mentality, you should think the A320 is old as well. First flight of this modern marvel was twenty years ago.

Something must be fundamentaly wrong with the 744 or the 777 must be extraordinarily exceptional, because most 747 operators seem to be retiring their fairly new 747-400's. Im guessing its much less fuel efficient? Maybe thats the main reason?
U.S. Legacy carriers,STILL leaders in lowering industry standards...
 
bluewhale18210
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:48 pm

Quoting JRDC930 (Reply 6):
Something must be fundamentaly wrong with the 744 or the 777 must be extraordinarily exceptional, because most 747 operators seem to be retiring their fairly new 747-400's. Im guessing its much less fuel efficient? Maybe thats the main reason?

No...it's just the market is changing. 20 Years ago U.S. carriers were flying 747s all over the place, such as HNL or JFK/LAX. Now frequency is more important than capacity of a single flight, so the 747s got grounded or converted to freighters.
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XT6Wagon
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:56 pm

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 2):
Obviously fuel burn is an issue and CASM is worse than a 777 but better than a 767.

Wrong, the 744 still has the lowest CASM for comparable configurations among any aircraft in service.

Why airlines love the 777 over the 744 is a simple one.

1. Lower trip costs = lower risk
2. More cargo capacity = lower risk
3. Smaller size = more flexible/larger fleet size for economy of scale.

Basicly the 777 lets you leave part of the lowest paying customers home when the route is at 100% and when its in the off-season you can fly it around at 70% full or whatever and make money on the cargo loads instead.

Its also cheaper to maintain 30 777 instead of 20 777 and 10 747, just on the fact of commonality. So even with a contract that the parts side would cost the same, you would still incur more expense from extra training, and higher costs when a frame is in a check since you have two sub fleets that are harder to juggle for scheduling when one is down. This is one reason that WN does so well is if a plane goes out of service for MX or a mechanical fault, they have little to worry about for shuffling it so it all works out. They only have to train workers for a limited number of planes, and since they are a family, they are all close anyway.
 
britjap
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 2:41 pm

Quoting FriendlySkies (Reply 5):
Only the fly-by-wire system...the rest is pretty similar

Definately not true!! The two are incomparable.

Personally I would say that the wings are the biggest give away to the age of the 744.
The wing design clearly shows itself to be all of its 35+ years age.

That said the 747 is still a beautiful old girl!!  cheerful 
 
sparklehorse12
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 2:46 pm

The 747 is a classic and completely revolutionised air travel. This old gal was so far ahead of her engineering time that it has taken till now - the A380 to give her a run for her money. That is pretty good going!
Airlines Flown : QF,NW,AA, CX, AC, MH, SQ, DJ, NZ, TG, PG,US, FJ, J8, AN, DD, JQ
 
mah584jr
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:38 pm

Quoting Bluewhale18210 (Reply 7):
20 Years ago U.S. carriers were flying 747s all over the place, such as HNL or JFK/LAX. Now frequency is more important than capacity of a single flight

Agreed. I feel that the 747 is not the best fit for US customers. We are definitely bigger on frequencies than the capacity of a single fleet. The most recent statistics I could find show that 9 out of the top ten airports, in terms of aircraft movements, are American. It's all about frequency in the US market.

http://www.airports.org/cda/aci/disp...nt.jsp?zn=aci&cp=1-5-212-231_9_2__

Also, technology advances so quickly these days. A 20 year old plane can seem a lot older than it really is, because new technologies are being introduced at an exponential rate in the airline industry.
 
Carpethead
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:01 pm

This one is (NW N661US):

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Josh May



This one isn't

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jaakko Ypyä



Or latest pax one (CI B-18215)

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Ben Wang

 
EI321
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:24 pm

Quoting FriendlySkies (Reply 5):
Quoting EI321 (Reply 4):
The A320 is much more advanced though!

Only the fly-by-wire system...the rest is pretty similar. And no, that flight limiter computer or whatever it's called is not advanced. :P

In terms of technological advancement Its like the difference between a 737-400 and an A320., an improved version of an older model.
 
Robbie86
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:35 pm

Is the 747-8 and 787 the same kind of plane? =/
 
EI321
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:37 pm

Quoting Robbie86 (Reply 14):
Is the 747-8 and 787 the same kind of plane? =/

It depends what you mean. In technological terms they have the same basic engines but thats about it.
 
na
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:50 pm

My favorite plane 747-400 old?

No.

Well, its aging, no way of seeing it differently. But as a truly brilliant product it has had an exceptionally long production run, and is still up-to-date in terms of being competitive in today´s market. No one retires it, just very few airlines who are not doing so well at the moment or are downsizing (what of is the same), like JAL.

Talking about old, the 767 is old. How anyone can still order it today, remains a mystery to me. A 767 will be worth almost nothing in 10 years. Boeing must give them away damn cheap these days.
 
EI321
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 9:13 pm

Quoting NA (Reply 16):
Talking about old, the 767 is old. How anyone can still order it today, remains a mystery to me.

Price, availability, commonality with existing fleets. It might not be cutting edge these days but its still a good workhorse!
 
CF188A
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:53 pm

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 8):
Wrong, the 744 still has the lowest CASM for comparable configurations among any aircraft in service.

yeah because its the only only civilian airliner which can carry a load up to 875,000+ lbs.... The 346/345/773 so not fully compare to the 747.
Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow~ RIP ... LJFM
 
PC12Fan
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 2:44 am

Quoting CF188A (Reply 18):
yeah because its the only only civilian airliner which can carry a load up to 875,000+ lbs.... The 346/345/773 so not fully compare to the 747.

Might want to double check that.  no 
Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
 
steeler83
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 2:46 am

If the 747-400 is old, then somebody call me grandpa!  old  old  old 
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ikramerica
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 2:54 am

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 8):
1. Lower trip costs = lower risk
2. More cargo capacity = lower risk
3. Smaller size = more flexible/larger fleet size for economy of scale.

With so many 744 operators switching to the 77W for these reasons, or downsizing their VLA fleet with some 77Ws for these reasons, doesn't exactly bode well for the 900 A380 sales Airbus talks about. Whoops, shhh!!!  shhh   shhh 

Quoting EI321 (Reply 17):
Price, availability, commonality with existing fleets. It might not be cutting edge these days but its still a good workhorse!

The 767 is only being bought by freight companies and as a top off to a couple pax customers who use them for very specific tasks. Further, the engines you get in 2007 are more efficient than the ones from 1982 due to constant improvements over time. The avionics also work better to optimize fuel burn.

But the main reason a freight company would buy new build 767s is they are also going to convert 767 pax models and want to build a base fleet of jets faster for logistics purposes. 767-300s have been hard to come by on the used market for freighter conversion, but will start glutting the market when the 787 enters service, so freight companies are preparing now.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
BoomBoom
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:00 am

The Seattle Post Intel has a story on this today:

747-400 passenger jet is no more

Quote:
After a production run of more than 450 planes, The Boeing Co. has built its final 747-400 passenger jet.

The last four planes still on the company's order books have been removed in a hush-hush deal that saw Philippine Airlines switch its order to the 777.

The 747-400, which has sold more than any other model of Boeing's venerable jumbo jet, entered commercial service in 1989 with Northwest Airlines, which along with United are the only two U.S. airlines that still operate the passenger version.

Boeing later developed an extended range model, the 747-400ER. Boeing has 18 747-400ER freighters left to deliver, along with 18 747-400 freighters. Those jets will be a bridge to production of the 747-8.

Boeing said Thursday it won six more orders for the 747-8 freighter, though it did not identify the customers.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/307716_boeing16.html

There's also a thread on this article: Boeing Ends Production For 747-400 PAX Version (by Jimyvr Mar 16 2007 in Civil Aviation)

Quoting NA (Reply 16):
A 767 will be worth almost nothing in 10 years. Boeing must give them away damn cheap these days.

Same can be said of the A330.

[Edited 2007-03-16 20:18:23]
Our eyes are open, our eyes are open--wide, wide, wide...
 
ZKSUJ
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 4:34 am

TIn terms of physical age, the 744 is only about 5-6 years older than the 777 if memory serves me right

So is it old IMO, No. However technology wise it is not the leading edge thing but it is definately still a very good reliable modern aircraft
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 7:29 am

No I wouldn't call the 744 old, but it is ageing like others have said, bring on the 748.

Quoting CX747 (Thread starter):
What has led airlines like Air New Zealand to opt for 777s on their flagship routes over the 747-400s?

AKL-LAX-LHR will soon return to a 744 permanently June 2007.
 
ContinentalEWR
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 9:41 am

The first 747-400 flew in October or November 1989. The plane itself is not old, but the design is now one generation behind the 777 and to a lesser extent, the A340/A330 family. It is still a viable, workhorse, but the same can be done on a 777-300 for less.

The 747-800 will probably incorporate more of the 777.
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 9:50 am

Quoting ContinentalEWR (Reply 25):
The first 747-400 flew in October or November 1989.

Thats incorrect, the first 744 flew in mid 1988 and entered service in January 1989 with NW.
 
VHXLR8
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:37 pm

Quoting Mah584jr (Reply 11):
Agreed. I feel that the 747 is not the best fit for US customers. We are definitely bigger on frequencies than the capacity of a single fleet. The most recent statistics I could find show that 9 out of the top ten airports, in terms of aircraft movements, are American. It's all about frequency in the US market.

Very true, the 747 is not the best for the US airlines. But it's not just frequency that's the issue; the USA has a LOT more major cities than any other country, add to that all the small cities/large towns that also get commercial air service (the same size towns in many other countries would be lucky to get prop service).
Whereas countries such Japan, England, Germany and Australia will focus on flights to/from large major cities (and some secondary city service); the US carriers aims to offer service to secondary cities.

Also, the US airlines largely operate on a hub and spoke system; leading to very high aircraft movement at hub cities. Other countries' domestic services still offer high frequency (many of the busiest routes in the world are domestic routes NOT in the USA), but without the huge volume of destinations, and the focus of hub and spoke, there is a difference in the type of traffic seen.
 
flydreamliner
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 1:29 pm

I dunno, if you've been on one of NW or UA's 744, you'd say they were old... but I kind of feel like NW just took the seats that are in Y in the 744 out of the 742 (they look exactly the same!).

Old is a relative term. The 744 is almost 20 years old, as far as airplanes 15-20 years old in design go, 744 being phased out faster than some, like A330 and 777, but I think its more that the market has changed more than the 744 is an obsolete aircraft in terms of its performance and technology. It's still modern in most respects.
"Let the world change you, and you can change the world"
 
InbarD
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 2:29 pm

You could say the 747-400 is old, but it manages to get the job pretty well done. Some of them out there are starting to break up, but overall there still in good shape.
 
1stfl94
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:46 pm

18 years is getting on a bit for an aircraft but the 744s have on the whole been well maintained and certainly they have beene extremely adaptable to updates cabin wise and we'll see them in the air for several years to come. They're less advanced than a 777 or even the A330/A340 but that just the pace of technology generally.
 
cchan
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Sun Mar 18, 2007 7:16 pm

I think I would put it this way:

744, 733, 734, 767 are quite similar techonology wise. The age of a particular aircraft may not be old, but the technology is not cutting edge. Nevertheless, they are good workhorses, and we will see them around for at least 15-20 years.

777, 32S, 330, 340, 737NG are more advanced in technology comparatively.
 
trintocan
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:58 am

Well, times are changing and so the mighty 747-400, despite its many advances which were revolutionary at the time it came out (1988) is perhaps a bit obsolescent now (not obsolete by any stretch of the imagination though). It still serves widely and remains the best-selling variant of the Jumbo, accounting for well over half of the type's sales. Furthermore, as yet there have been no permanenet groundings (scrappings) of 747-400s - think about that as you see ex BA / Varig 777s going under the torch.

The Jumbo will remain around for many more years and the new model will continue the story for a long time. The 400's around still have a lot of life in them and so thoughts of them disappearing from the skies soon are premature.

TrinToCan.
Hop to it, fly for life!
 
captaink
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:37 am

Quoting NA (Reply 16):
Talking about old, the 767 is old. How anyone can still order it today, remains a mystery to me. A 767 will be worth almost nothing in 10 years. Boeing must give them away damn cheap these days.

Strange to see the 767 still in production when, the 747 isn't.
There is something special about planes....
 
cchan
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RE: Is The 747-400 OLD?

Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:18 pm

Quoting Captaink (Reply 33):
Strange to see the 767 still in production when, the 747 isn't.

The 767 will probably continue to be in production until a number of 787 slots become free. Boeing has no other aircrafts in this size range, and there are airlines e.g. JL, NH which require these aircrafts "urgently". For airlines which already have large 767 fleets, acquiring some more at a bargain price won't be a bad idea.