American 767 wrote:
Although Boeing also has a tough time selling the 747-8i, they haven't yet officially announced the end of the Queen. Boeing will be thinking that some airlines could change their mind.
Boeing could not get a carrier to take the 747-8 even if they gave them away free. Also they must be at a point where there are no suppliers to build these Hunchbacks since the last one was delivered over one and half years ago.
Oh, I don't know...Lufthansa might be happy with a few additional 747-8's, if given for free - talk about an unlimited shelf life! They wisely made it a niche aircraft, and it rotates around the world on seasonal routes, swapping out with other routes when the time comes. However, skipping this exception that ain't a-happening, you are correct.
In a book I have in storage (yes, I know, I say that a lot!), there are descriptions of "possible new versions of the 747 family after the -400, including the -500X, the -600X, and -700X". Each of them were stretched versions of the -400, stretching the 747 design like it was a DC-8! Further onward below the pictures (I promise I will find my source books one day!), it said, "the stretched versions will feature all-new wing designs", and capacity increases of up to nearly 700 in all-economy, if I remember right.
When the A380 appeared, I remember thinking, "Boeing did the first concept, but either Airbus beat them to the Gargantuan-class civil aircraft OR Boeing looked at the predicted costs versus potential break-even and profit levels, and decided the numbers weren't there and ceded this market to Airbus." I am glad that mostly operations are now routine, and for many airlines it has proven to be a reliable and profitable aircraft.
I find the parallels with the first 747's to be of note as well:
1) Both planes started out life being primarily associated with one airline: the 747 with Pan Am, and the A380 with Emirates, whose business model was the first to create the Center-of-the-Planet hub, and the A380 played a major role in its plans..
2) The initial teething troubles with the engines - remember that Pratt & Whitney had real issues with delivering on promised capabilities. That led to many fully finished 747's to sit with weights in place of engines, keeping the wing bent properly.
3) Operations of both planes into airports not used to them required training and a LOT of finesse!
4) Both planes enjoyed early strong sales, but the great jump in capacity cooled the market off quickly. Those that are able to utilize this aircraft profitably have purchased those that they need, and other carriers are choosing other aircraft that meet their needs.
5) Both are magnificent aircraft, and both will be flying for many years. No predictions on who will be last.
One final question for the community: many 747's were ordered, more for their range than for capacity. Were any A380's purchased for their range rather than capacity?