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muralir
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How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:29 pm

The 747-8 has been a failure as a passenger craft, with very low sales and a quick discontinuing of the line. The reasons cited (as I understand them) are basically poor cost compared to more efficient twin engine jets, and no need for such VLA capacity any more.

My question is, if the economics of the passenger version of the 747-8 are so bad, how is it continuing to be produced as a freighter? Generally speaking, it seems that new freighters tend to also be successful passenger planes e.g. 777, 767, etc.

I understand that inefficient planes can make sense as freighters if they're bought cheap (i.e. used) because freighters tend to have lower utilization rates, so lower capital cost can compensate for somewhat higher operating costs. Which is why there's a robust market for old 747s being converted to freighters.

But this doesn't explain why *new* 747-8Fs are being bought. Is Boeing giving a massive discount? Is there something special about the 747-8 that makes it uniquely suited for freight while being poorly suited for passengers? Something that's more compelling than converting one of the many used 747-400 on the market? Are there other examples of currently selling freighters that are considered poor as passenger variants?

Anyway, just curious about this anomaly in the market...

(PS I understand why the Airbus A380 was the opposite: a good passenger craft and a poor freighter, because in a freighter version, due to higher densities, it would hit max payload before all the space was used. But I haven't found a similar reason to explain he 747-8)
 
Elshad
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:30 pm

The hinged nose door of the 747-8F is very useful, and not found on converted -400 freighters.
 
Cointrin330
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:40 pm

The economics of 4-engine aircraft as it relates to hauling pax has changed substantially. The 77W, 77X, A359 and the 787 program have all replaced the 747/A380 as a viable hauler of pax. For cargo, it's about space and the 748 offers that.
 
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afterburner
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:42 pm

Converted 747s can't have nose cargo door. So, if you need a freighter that can carry oversized cargo, you need to buy a 747 that is built as freighter from the beginning.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:42 pm

Its not a bad passenger aircraft, it just had bad timing.
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PhilMcCrackin
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:42 pm

The failure of the 748i was due to the pax market moving away from VLAs and towards mid sized twins.
 
dstblj52
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:52 pm

It has a few advantages, the 747-8F has an MTOW of 975,000 pounds and an OEW of 434,600 pounds, whereas the 777F has an MTOW of 766,800 pounds but an OEW of 318,000 pounds, however, because passenger aircraft tend to run out of seats before they run out of weight on anything but the longest routes so that is not generally a problem, whereas for a freighter they tend to run out of weight before they run out of space so that extra 100,000 pounds of capacity is very useful. It also bears mentioning that the cargo airlines are in general more strictly hub and spoke operations then passenger airlines because a box doesn't care that its itinerary has two stops but a person generally does. Through in the fleet and crew commonality advantages and it will do fairly well.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:52 pm

There's a few incorrect ideas in your premise.

Used 747-400s still being converted: The last 2 conversions, which have been completed about a year ago, were Asiana combis that went to full freighter, so about as minimal of a change as could be done. It's been quite a while since a full pax 744 has been converted, and there are some that think no more will ever be done.

Low utilization: New build long haul freighters tend to have fairly high use. These aren't FX/UPS 2 45 minute cycles 5 days a week, this is transcon/ocean use, where the asset is paying for itself with flying. Think FRA-DFW and back in a day. Many Asia flights tech stop in ANC as they are hauling payload instead of fuel and cargo doesn't care about the short time on ground.

In Short: The 748F is a very capable aircraft and does things even the beast of 772F cannot. new build freighers have demand especially when being run 18 hours a day. Good 744s are getting rare and conversions have pretty much ended. There is intense competition for their engines with MD-11s and the surge of 763 conversions.
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wjcandee
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:54 pm

Also, express carriers tend to cube out before they weight out.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:55 pm

But even as a freighter the -8 is not doing all that well. The 777 and 767 simply excel.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
dstblj52
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:55 pm

Spacepope wrote:
There's a few incorrect ideas in your premise.

Used 747-400s still being converted: The last 2 conversions, which have been completed about a year ago, were Asiana combis that went to full freighter, so about as minimal of a change as could be done. It's been quite a while since a full pax 744 has been converted, and there are some that think no more will ever be done.

Low utilization: New build long haul freighters tend to have fairly high use. These aren't FX/UPS 2 45 minute cycles 5 days a week, this is transcon/ocean use, where the asset is paying for itself with flying. Think FRA-DFW and back in a day. Many Asia flights tech stop in ANC as they are hauling payload instead of fuel and cargo doesn't care about the short time on ground.

In Short: The 748F is a very capable aircraft and does things even the beast of 772F cannot. new build freighers have demand especially when being run 18 hours a day. Good 744s are getting rare and conversions have pretty much ended. There is intense competition for their engines with MD-11s and the surge of 763 conversions.

Won't there be more 744 available when BA and KLM stop operating them or have those been worn to ragged to be useful? I have to imagine the at the very least the KLM combi's get converted right
 
Deltabravo1123
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:01 pm

Elshad wrote:
The hinged nose door of the 747-8F is very useful, and not found on converted -400 freighters.


This is exactly what I thought as well. The 747 is the only widely-used freighter with the ability to load oversized freight through the nose. The other possibility I can think of, is like you said, the 747-8i was not as successful as the 747-8F. I imagine some good discounts are being given to customers to continue the production line of the 747, and to maximize the ROI of the investment for this aircraft.
 
DfwRevolution
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:11 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
Its not a bad passenger aircraft, it just had bad timing.


That’s a distinction without a difference.
I have a three post per topic limit. You're welcome to have the last word.
 
Bradin
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:17 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
But even as a freighter the -8 is not doing all that well. The 777 and 767 simply excel.


Depends on what missions we are profiling comparing.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:29 pm

Correct. An-225 can fly profiles the B747F variants cannot, but such profiles are rare, whereas the profiles the B747F variants can fly that twins cannot are much more common. There's a reason CV operates 26 B747F variants (including 14 B748Fs), and no twins.
 
MADPYRO
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:52 pm

dstblj52 wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
There's a few incorrect ideas in your premise.

Used 747-400s still being converted: The last 2 conversions, which have been completed about a year ago, were Asiana combis that went to full freighter, so about as minimal of a change as could be done. It's been quite a while since a full pax 744 has been converted, and there are some that think no more will ever be done.

Low utilization: New build long haul freighters tend to have fairly high use. These aren't FX/UPS 2 45 minute cycles 5 days a week, this is transcon/ocean use, where the asset is paying for itself with flying. Think FRA-DFW and back in a day. Many Asia flights tech stop in ANC as they are hauling payload instead of fuel and cargo doesn't care about the short time on ground.

In Short: The 748F is a very capable aircraft and does things even the beast of 772F cannot. new build freighers have demand especially when being run 18 hours a day. Good 744s are getting rare and conversions have pretty much ended. There is intense competition for their engines with MD-11s and the surge of 763 conversions.

Won't there be more 744 available when BA and KLM stop operating them or have those been worn to ragged to be useful? I have to imagine the at the very least the KLM combi's get converted right



The BA frames are 1999 or older builds and have about 100k hours so are finished. The only KLM ones I can see maybe getting a convert are PH-BFY and perhaps -BFW, the rest are 1999 or older builds and KL's older B744 fleet were the leaders for B744 hours so these will also be finished.
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reidar76
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:26 pm

Deltabravo1123 wrote:
Elshad wrote:
The hinged nose door of the 747-8F is very useful, and not found on converted -400 freighters.


This is exactly what I thought as well. The 747 is the only widely-used freighter with the ability to load oversized freight through the nose. The other possibility I can think of, is like you said, the 747-8i was not as successful as the 747-8F. I imagine some good discounts are being given to customers to continue the production line of the 747, and to maximize the ROI of the investment for this aircraft.


Interesting. For the ultimate hinged nose door for oversized cargo, the A330-700 (BelugaXL) will enter service this month. Full certification was obtained in November 2019. I wonder if Airbus might sell a few of these to cargo airlines. Time will tell.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:47 pm

MADPYRO wrote:
dstblj52 wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
There's a few incorrect ideas in your premise.

Used 747-400s still being converted: The last 2 conversions, which have been completed about a year ago, were Asiana combis that went to full freighter, so about as minimal of a change as could be done. It's been quite a while since a full pax 744 has been converted, and there are some that think no more will ever be done.

Low utilization: New build long haul freighters tend to have fairly high use. These aren't FX/UPS 2 45 minute cycles 5 days a week, this is transcon/ocean use, where the asset is paying for itself with flying. Think FRA-DFW and back in a day. Many Asia flights tech stop in ANC as they are hauling payload instead of fuel and cargo doesn't care about the short time on ground.

In Short: The 748F is a very capable aircraft and does things even the beast of 772F cannot. new build freighers have demand especially when being run 18 hours a day. Good 744s are getting rare and conversions have pretty much ended. There is intense competition for their engines with MD-11s and the surge of 763 conversions.

Won't there be more 744 available when BA and KLM stop operating them or have those been worn to ragged to be useful? I have to imagine the at the very least the KLM combi's get converted right



The BA frames are 1999 or older builds and have about 100k hours so are finished. The only KLM ones I can see maybe getting a convert are PH-BFY and perhaps -BFW, the rest are 1999 or older builds and KL's older B744 fleet were the leaders for B744 hours so these will also be finished.

It's not a question of available airframes, it's the desire to actually convert them. UA hand DL had some pretty young 744s in the mix when they did mass retirements. Some ex-UA 744s were scrapped with fewer than 50,000 hours on them.
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ikolkyo
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:48 pm

It had huge competition on the passenger side of things but not so much on the freighter side.
 
FGITD
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:23 pm

reidar76 wrote:
Deltabravo1123 wrote:
Elshad wrote:
The hinged nose door of the 747-8F is very useful, and not found on converted -400 freighters.


This is exactly what I thought as well. The 747 is the only widely-used freighter with the ability to load oversized freight through the nose. The other possibility I can think of, is like you said, the 747-8i was not as successful as the 747-8F. I imagine some good discounts are being given to customers to continue the production line of the 747, and to maximize the ROI of the investment for this aircraft.


Interesting. For the ultimate hinged nose door for oversized cargo, the A330-700 (BelugaXL) will enter service this month. Full certification was obtained in November 2019. I wonder if Airbus might sell a few of these to cargo airlines. Time will tell.


Belugas and dreamlifters are too specialized to be practical for any cargo airline to run. And if you really need it, it'd be cheaper to approach Airbus and Boeing (though I'm almost certain the dreamlifters are actually contracted) to do a short lease.

Same goes for nose-loaded cargo. It's better to have the capability and not need it than to not have it at all. But that said, nose loaded cargo is really not that prominent. Having the ability helps overall, but it's not as if all the cargo lines are spending their days shipping around masts, drilling equipment, etc that needs the front door.
 
catiii
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:39 pm

FGITD wrote:
(though I'm almost certain the dreamlifters are actually contracted) to do a short lease.


If memory serves correct they were second hand -400s from China Air and maybe Malaysian (?) that are owned by Boeing but were original operated by Evergreen before they lost the contract to Atlas.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:03 pm

In pax service both the A380 and B748i got clobbered by the 77W, which came out right on a big sweet spot in the market with better than expected performance. Boeing hoped it would sell well, but probably would not have done the 748 in hindsight. It took a while for the aviation world to realize the VLA era was over.

The 748F's huge payload capacity and efficient engines fits well with the freight networks already established for the earlier 747's. The 77F does better on the longer routes where payload weights are similar on the 747 and 777. A decade ago, the freighter orders were skewed toward the 748F, now it is 767F and 777F with the orders. Although not announced, with Triumph closing down its 747 structures line there may be no further orders for the 748F
 
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DocLightning
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:04 pm

It's necessary to go back to the origins of the 747 to understand. Back when the 747 program was being started, Boeing was pretty confident that the B2707 SST would supplant subsonic airplanes and so the 747 was a sort of stopgap program to fill the market until the 2707 went into service. As such, the 747 was designed primarily to serve as a freighter. The flight deck was put above the main deck so that there would be an uninterrupted main deck for cargo and so that a swinging nose could be installed so that very long pieces of cargo could be loaded that way. (There was an alternative "anteater" design with the flight deck below the main deck, but that never panned out.)

The 747 is the only commercial freighter other than the Antonov AN-124/225 with a swinging nose. This means that very long pieces of cargo (like a wind turbine blade) can be loaded through the front. These cannot be loaded through the side door because the geometry is such that they cannot "turn the corner."

There is simply no competition. Antonov is no longer building 124/225s. Airbus doesn't have a freighter with a swinging nose (well, they have their guppies, but those are not for sale).
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speedbird52
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:16 pm

Spacepope wrote:
MADPYRO wrote:
dstblj52 wrote:
Won't there be more 744 available when BA and KLM stop operating them or have those been worn to ragged to be useful? I have to imagine the at the very least the KLM combi's get converted right



The BA frames are 1999 or older builds and have about 100k hours so are finished. The only KLM ones I can see maybe getting a convert are PH-BFY and perhaps -BFW, the rest are 1999 or older builds and KL's older B744 fleet were the leaders for B744 hours so these will also be finished.

It's not a question of available airframes, it's the desire to actually convert them. UA hand DL had some pretty young 744s in the mix when they did mass retirements. Some ex-UA 744s were scrapped with fewer than 50,000 hours on them.

Aren't PW engines less desirable? QF have some very young 744ERs coming off the fleet this year. Perhaps we could see them converted?
 
tomcat
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:32 pm

FGITD wrote:
reidar76 wrote:
Deltabravo1123 wrote:

This is exactly what I thought as well. The 747 is the only widely-used freighter with the ability to load oversized freight through the nose. The other possibility I can think of, is like you said, the 747-8i was not as successful as the 747-8F. I imagine some good discounts are being given to customers to continue the production line of the 747, and to maximize the ROI of the investment for this aircraft.


Interesting. For the ultimate hinged nose door for oversized cargo, the A330-700 (BelugaXL) will enter service this month. Full certification was obtained in November 2019. I wonder if Airbus might sell a few of these to cargo airlines. Time will tell.


Belugas and dreamlifters are too specialized to be practical for any cargo airline to run. And if you really need it, it'd be cheaper to approach Airbus and Boeing (though I'm almost certain the dreamlifters are actually contracted) to do a short lease.

Same goes for nose-loaded cargo. It's better to have the capability and not need it than to not have it at all. But that said, nose loaded cargo is really not that prominent. Having the ability helps overall, but it's not as if all the cargo lines are spending their days shipping around masts, drilling equipment, etc that needs the front door.


Given the Beluga XL already designed and certify, it wouldn't be such a big effort to design an A330F(NEO?) with a lowered cockpit "à la Beluga" and a nose cargo door above the cockpit, keeping the basic fuselage diameter. With the 747 production coming to an end and Boeing having no immediate alternative with a nose cargo door, there is maybe an opportunity for Airbus to at least test the market for such a product.
 
dstblj52
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:37 pm

DocLightning wrote:
It's necessary to go back to the origins of the 747 to understand. Back when the 747 program was being started, Boeing was pretty confident that the B2707 SST would supplant subsonic airplanes and so the 747 was a sort of stopgap program to fill the market until the 2707 went into service. As such, the 747 was designed primarily to serve as a freighter. The flight deck was put above the main deck so that there would be an uninterrupted main deck for cargo and so that a swinging nose could be installed so that very long pieces of cargo could be loaded that way. (There was an alternative "anteater" design with the flight deck below the main deck, but that never panned out.)

The 747 is the only commercial freighter other than the Antonov AN-124/225 with a swinging nose. This means that very long pieces of cargo (like a wind turbine blade) can be loaded through the front. These cannot be loaded through the side door because the geometry is such that they cannot "turn the corner."

There is simply no competition. Antonov is no longer building 124/225s. Airbus doesn't have a freighter with a swinging nose (well, they have their guppies, but those are not for sale).

Interestingly enough you can wet-lease airbus guppies if you need to move something like that provided they can fit you into the schedule.
 
speedbird52
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:38 pm

tomcat wrote:
FGITD wrote:
reidar76 wrote:

Interesting. For the ultimate hinged nose door for oversized cargo, the A330-700 (BelugaXL) will enter service this month. Full certification was obtained in November 2019. I wonder if Airbus might sell a few of these to cargo airlines. Time will tell.


Belugas and dreamlifters are too specialized to be practical for any cargo airline to run. And if you really need it, it'd be cheaper to approach Airbus and Boeing (though I'm almost certain the dreamlifters are actually contracted) to do a short lease.

Same goes for nose-loaded cargo. It's better to have the capability and not need it than to not have it at all. But that said, nose loaded cargo is really not that prominent. Having the ability helps overall, but it's not as if all the cargo lines are spending their days shipping around masts, drilling equipment, etc that needs the front door.


Given the Beluga XL already designed and certify, it wouldn't be such a big effort to design an A330F(NEO?) with a lowered cockpit "à la Beluga" and a nose cargo door above the cockpit, keeping the basic fuselage diameter. With the 747 production coming to an end and Boeing having no immediate alternative with a nose cargo door, there is maybe an opportunity for Airbus to at least test the market for such a product.

I always wondered about a swing tail 777 freighter
 
tomcat
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:48 pm

speedbird52 wrote:
tomcat wrote:
FGITD wrote:

Belugas and dreamlifters are too specialized to be practical for any cargo airline to run. And if you really need it, it'd be cheaper to approach Airbus and Boeing (though I'm almost certain the dreamlifters are actually contracted) to do a short lease.

Same goes for nose-loaded cargo. It's better to have the capability and not need it than to not have it at all. But that said, nose loaded cargo is really not that prominent. Having the ability helps overall, but it's not as if all the cargo lines are spending their days shipping around masts, drilling equipment, etc that needs the front door.


Given the Beluga XL already designed and certify, it wouldn't be such a big effort to design an A330F(NEO?) with a lowered cockpit "à la Beluga" and a nose cargo door above the cockpit, keeping the basic fuselage diameter. With the 747 production coming to an end and Boeing having no immediate alternative with a nose cargo door, there is maybe an opportunity for Airbus to at least test the market for such a product.

I always wondered about a swing tail 777 freighter


Many things are possible, it's just that with the Beluga, the lowered nose is a reality for the A330. Thinking about it, a nose door must be easier to operate than a swing tail.
 
Max Q
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:53 pm

DocLightning wrote:
It's necessary to go back to the origins of the 747 to understand. Back when the 747 program was being started, Boeing was pretty confident that the B2707 SST would supplant subsonic airplanes and so the 747 was a sort of stopgap program to fill the market until the 2707 went into service. As such, the 747 was designed primarily to serve as a freighter. The flight deck was put above the main deck so that there would be an uninterrupted main deck for cargo and so that a swinging nose could be installed so that very long pieces of cargo could be loaded that way. (There was an alternative "anteater" design with the flight deck below the main deck, but that never panned out.)

The 747 is the only commercial freighter other than the Antonov AN-124/225 with a swinging nose. This means that very long pieces of cargo (like a wind turbine blade) can be loaded through the front. These cannot be loaded through the side door because the geometry is such that they cannot "turn the corner."

There is simply no competition. Antonov is no longer building 124/225s. Airbus doesn't have a freighter with a swinging nose (well, they have their guppies, but those are not for sale).




And the Antonov’s have a big disadvantage in that their cargo holds are unpressurized


That’s very undesirable for many shippers
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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Bhoy
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:35 pm

catiii wrote:
FGITD wrote:
(though I'm almost certain the dreamlifters are actually contracted) to do a short lease.


If memory serves correct they were second hand -400s from China Air and maybe Malaysian (?) that are owned by Boeing but were original operated by Evergreen before they lost the contract to Atlas.

Of the 4 dreamlifters, 2 are ex-China Airlines [N249BA formerly B-18271 and N780BA formerly B-18272], 1 is ex-Air China [N747BC formerly B-2464], and 1 is ex-Malaysian [N718BA formerly 9M-MPA]
 
Ziyulu
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:55 pm

The 747-8 is not a bad passenger plane. 3-4-3 seating in economy with a cabin wider than a 777.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:01 am

speedbird52 wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
MADPYRO wrote:


The BA frames are 1999 or older builds and have about 100k hours so are finished. The only KLM ones I can see maybe getting a convert are PH-BFY and perhaps -BFW, the rest are 1999 or older builds and KL's older B744 fleet were the leaders for B744 hours so these will also be finished.

It's not a question of available airframes, it's the desire to actually convert them. UA hand DL had some pretty young 744s in the mix when they did mass retirements. Some ex-UA 744s were scrapped with fewer than 50,000 hours on them.

Aren't PW engines less desirable? QF have some very young 744ERs coming off the fleet this year. Perhaps we could see them converted?


There's plenty of demand for both. A few of the Amazon 763 conversions are even PW engined birds.
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moa999
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:04 am

Ziyulu wrote:
The 747-8 is not a bad passenger plane. 3-4-3 seating in economy with a cabin wider than a 777.
Good for pax..
Not good for airline economics. That's a lot of extra fuselage or weight youre carrying for limited benefit.

Same with the A380. Had Airbus designed the lower deck for 3-5-3 (as proposed for the never launched Plus variant) and not overwinged it for a future stretch it may have had substantially lower CASM and be still relevant today
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:04 am

DfwRevolution wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
Its not a bad passenger aircraft, it just had bad timing.


That’s a distinction without a difference.

How does that mean the aircraft itself is bad? If it came around in 2000 it would've sold a lot more. Just because something is obsolete doesn't make it bad.

It did its job, stole a handful of orders for the passenger A380, and it can be argued that it totally helped kill the A380F while still giving Boeing a viable large freighter option until the 777F came along. It can also be argued that the passenger 748 is just gravy for the 748 as a whole, similar to how the original 747 was designed to be a strategic airlifter in its early concept days.
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DarkSnowyNight
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:03 am

afterburner wrote:
Converted 747s can't have nose cargo door. So, if you need a freighter that can carry oversized cargo, you need to buy a 747 that is built as freighter from the beginning.


I do not believe that is strictly true. See below...

DocLightning wrote:
It's necessary to go back to the origins of the 747 to understand. Back when the 747 program was being started, Boeing was pretty confident that the B2707 SST would supplant subsonic airplanes and so the 747 was a sort of stopgap program to fill the market until the 2707 went into service. As such, the 747 was designed primarily to serve as a freighter.


This is true. And as indicated above, the first 24 -100s were built with the capability to be turned into full, nose-door equipped, freighters. In old enough photos, you can actually see the window gap on both sides of Zone One. This is because that is where the Nose Door Seat Frame runs through, as it is already built in.

The intent was that these would be bought back, converted, and re-sold as freighters. This explains also both BCA's and early operating Airline's somewhat cavalier attitude about the -100's performance shortcomings.

They simply were not meant to stay in their respective fleets more than about four years, by which time the -200s & B2707s should have been online or nearly so.


An STC was built up at the time, as well, to include that Seat Frame as a mod for future variants, as deleting it from the PAX units removed weight as well. It was not certificated as these are expensive things to do if there are not customers lined up. And with the popularity of the model as a PAX bird in the early 70's Regulation Protected market, BCA eventually decided that a purely factory made -F was a better use of the resources involved.

Had things gone differently, the 400s & 8Is would likely have had this built in as an option as well.



DocLightning wrote:
The flight deck was put above the main deck so that there would be an uninterrupted main deck for cargo and so that a swinging nose could be installed so that very long pieces of cargo could be loaded that way. (There was an alternative "anteater" design with the flight deck below the main deck, but that never panned out.)

The 747 is the only commercial freighter other than the Antonov AN-124/225 with a swinging nose. This means that very long pieces of cargo (like a wind turbine blade) can be loaded through the front. These cannot be loaded through the side door because the geometry is such that they cannot "turn the corner."


Long, flat pieces, yes.

While the nose door is useful when it is useful, it is truly more a hindrance than help. While the ceiling height never mattered in PAX variants, it is a non-trivially amount lower in any part of a 747F where there is upper decking. This is ok for a lot of things, like parcels, bespoke LDs and automobiles, there is actually less one can do with the space forward than what you will find on 77F.

This is, by the way, the reason BCA deliberately chooses to keep the short hump for every factory built 74F, even though a stretched upper deck is actually aerodynamically superior.
The BCFs effectively do the same thing. All interior spaces on the upper deck are removed aft of the crew bunks, which are immediately aft of the upper deck doors.
It is a very interesting thing to see the FC cables/runs and ACM piping where a J Class once was...


DocLightning wrote:
There is simply no competition. Antonov is no longer building 124/225s. Airbus doesn't have a freighter with a swinging nose (well, they have their guppies, but those are not for sale).


BCA obviously knew this. I think with suppliers closing out, they knew the fix was in for the 747. They did try everything they could to slow production over the last few years, based on the very realistic expectation that there would be a market for these again in the late 20s.
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speedbird52
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:18 am

DarkSnowyNight wrote:
This is, by the way, the reason BCA deliberately chooses to keep the short hump for every factory built 74F, even though a stretched upper deck is actually aerodynamically superior.
The BCFs effectively do the same thing. All interior spaces on the upper deck are removed aft of the crew bunks, which are immediately aft of the upper deck doors.
It is a very interesting thing to see the FC cables/runs and ACM piping where a J Class once was...

BCA obviously knew this. I think with suppliers closing out, they knew the fix was in for the 747. They did try everything they could to slow production over the last few years, based on the very realistic expectation that there would be a market for these again in the late 20s.

I never noticed the height difference under the upper deck! Next time I fly on a 74 I will definitely pay attention while going for a midflight walk. The ceiling height is one of the reasons I adore flying the 744. I feel like I am in an ocean liner going through the skies rather than a pressurized metal tube. I am going to miss it a lot.

Do you think there is a chance that airlines like Kalitta will pick up on some -8 freighters just as the line closes?
 
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:49 am

Thanks for all the answers! It appears that a large part of the 747-8's appeal is the nose cone door. IOW, are you saying that operators have been willing to tolerate the 748's lower efficiency in exchange for this capability? And are there really that many shipments that require this capability? I would expect that large parts like wind turbine blades tend to move by rail and ship, no? Given how many 744 and 748 freighters there are, it seems like a *huge* number of aircraft for something I always thought of as more of a niche service...
 
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:41 am

speedbird52 wrote:
...

Do you think there is a chance that airlines like Kalitta will pick up on some -8 freighters just as the line closes?


At this point, seems highly unlikely.
While BCA is tight-lipped and nothing official appears to be out there, with every passing day the probability of any further 747-8 being built, beyond the current orders, is going down.
Suppliers of key components are shutting production down. Most notable is fuselage components maker Triumph, whose factory that made 747 parts was closed and individual tools were (or still partly are being?) auctioned off.
Doesn't mean it is impossible to extend production. It just makes it more and more expensive and difficult, diminishing the business case.
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speedbird52
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:44 am

Phosphorus wrote:
speedbird52 wrote:
...

Do you think there is a chance that airlines like Kalitta will pick up on some -8 freighters just as the line closes?


At this point, seems highly unlikely.
While BCA is tight-lipped and nothing official appears to be out there, with every passing day the probability of any further 747-8 being built, beyond the current orders, is going down.
Suppliers of key components are shutting production down. Most notable is fuselage components maker Triumph, whose factory that made 747 parts was closed and individual tools were (or still partly are being?) auctioned off.
Doesn't mean it is impossible to extend production. It just makes it more and more expensive and difficult, diminishing the business case.

Quite sad. Any idea when the last 747 is rolling off the line? I want to make it to PAE but there seems to be no way to track when Boeing traffic flies
 
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:45 am

muralir wrote:
Thanks for all the answers! It appears that a large part of the 747-8's appeal is the nose cone door. IOW, are you saying that operators have been willing to tolerate the 748's lower efficiency in exchange for this capability? And are there really that many shipments that require this capability? I would expect that large parts like wind turbine blades tend to move by rail and ship, no? Given how many 744 and 748 freighters there are, it seems like a *huge* number of aircraft for something I always thought of as more of a niche service...
UPS doesn't use the nose loader. It's a big airplane which can carry a lot of boxes a long way and they got a good price on them.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:53 am

JayinKitsap wrote:
It took a while for the aviation world to realize the [first] VLA era was over.


There will be a second VLA era, IMO. Probably elliptical hulls, big twins.
 
Strato2
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:59 am

It's bad as a pax plane it's bad as a freighter. The production is ending and fuselage shop has already closed.
 
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DarkSnowyNight
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:14 am

speedbird52 wrote:
I never noticed the height difference under the upper deck! Next time I fly on a 74 I will definitely pay attention while going for a midflight walk. The ceiling height is one of the reasons I adore flying the 744. I feel like I am in an ocean liner going through the skies rather than a pressurized metal tube. I am going to miss it a lot.


Strangely enough, there is an actual ceiling height difference where the upper deck is for the PAX variants, too. But it is only two inches, so it is not likely you would notice that.

Where I was really going -apologies if I did not make this clear- was the difference as effective on the F variants. On these, aft of the upper deck flooring, the ceiling liners follow the shape of the crown, and here, it is a pretty tremendous difference. For the PAX version, it is the standard ceiling and Overhead Bin Profile. And yes, on a 747, I agree that those are nicely done.

I will now look to see if there are photos of this in the database. If not, I will snag one from work this week.


speedbird52 wrote:
Do you think there is a chance that airlines like Kalitta will pick up on some -8 freighters just as the line closes?


I do not know, but it does not seem likely BCA will make a price point that Kalitta likes. A year ago, I would have said it is much more likely, given the idea that BCA may want to keep the line open; it covers a disproportionate amount of FAL space at Everette. But now, with suppliers closing down, anything less than list price may likely be disadvantageous for BCA. So, it would be hard to make a sale to Kalitta on that basis.

If anything, I can see those guys getting into the 77W/3BCF market at some point soon. They do a lot of milk runs with their 744s in addition to the outsize stuff. . .



WPvsMW wrote:

There will be a second VLA era, IMO. Probably elliptical hulls, big twins.


Yep. As much as everyone here is gloomy on the 779, I really do feel that that and an A350-1100* actually have pretty bright futures over a long enough time line. Which is fine, as they are not short range projects anyway. . .

I do wonder what Cargo/Freight looks like for this. No doubt, we will see a lot of route fragmentation from the likes of Amazon and DHL, to a point where even a 77F/778F is a lot of airplane.

But I still do also see no reason to think the outsize Freight Market is going to shrink, or even stay the same either. At a certain point, BCA will have to look at what is less expensive... Restarting a 748 line, or going with something new. Neither will be cheap...


* I am aware that this is theoretical at the moment. But there is a lot to suggest that this will happen with the NEO'ing of the 350 family at large...
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speedbird52
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:17 am

WPvsMW wrote:
JayinKitsap wrote:
It took a while for the aviation world to realize the [first] VLA era was over.


There will be a second VLA era, IMO. Probably elliptical hulls, big twins.

The thing a lot of point to point evangelists miss is that even though smaller more efficient planes allow you to fly from London to Portland, that doesn't mean people will magically stop wanting to fly from London to Chicago. In fact, most of the population growth in the next few years is set to be in the megacities. And you can only increase frequency by so much before the airport runs out of space. Sure, you can expand airports, but how long can you realistically expect to keep making airports bigger and bigger? The A380 and 748 were the wrong planes at the wrong times. I can easily see a market for 748 size planes sometime this decade, albeit the aircraft would have to offer much better fuel economy.
 
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:35 am

I think the catalyst for the second VLA era will be TPAC cargo, Asia to the N.Am. "Cargo doesn't care if it's a one-stop (at 0300 in ANC)." The pax strategy for VLAs was premature, but the next pax VLA market will emerge after that for cargo (in my crystal ball, and factoring in lessons learned in the first, solely pax VLA era). Moreover, AMZL could be the driver for the second era. AMZL may not export to China, but they certainly do export everywhere else, places that TMall, Aliexpress, Bangood, etc., are unlikely to enter.
Last edited by WPvsMW on Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
Checklist787
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:43 am

TWA772LR wrote:
Its not a bad passenger aircraft, it just had bad timing.

:checkmark:
PhilMcCrackin wrote:
The failure of the 748i was due to the pax market moving away from VLAs and towards mid sized twins.


The 4-engines have been condemned for at least 20 years.

The 777-300ER flouded the market between 2004 and 2015 being a high capacity and alternative twin-engines very close to the 747-400 / -400ER ...

I am convinced that Boeing launched the 747-8 program in a FREIGHTER-PERSPECTIVE.

Selling "Intercontinental" (-8I derivative) was just the icing on the cake even if it was VERY modest ...
Last edited by Checklist787 on Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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AirbusOnly
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:48 am

Wouldn't a converted A 340-600 a good freighter with huge capacity? Still nobody tried to convert it...are there 340 freigthers anyway? Ok...4 engines, but 747 also got them...
 
Max Q
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:52 am

A little trivia

The first three 747 Classic freighters had nose loading doors but no side main deck cargo door


All three had side doors installed later
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Checklist787
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:07 am

AirbusOnly wrote:
Wouldn't a converted A 340-600 a good freighter with huge capacity? Still nobody tried to convert it...are there 340 freigthers anyway? Ok...4 engines, but 747 also got them...


An A340-600F-X concept is a very good idea. Larger than the 777- (200LR) F, but smaller than the 747-8F. He would have been surrounded between the two competitors, It would have been risky when the A340-500 / -600 program was a felt flop

Perhaps an A340-500F-X concept would have flown further than the conceptual -600F-X but it would come dangerously close to the 777-F.

Airbus certainly thought of it at the time. But we know that Toulouse focused on the A350 XWB shortly after and had stopped the A380 (-800) F derivative maybe for this reason and start cleaning up with Power 8 ...
Last edited by Checklist787 on Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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speedbird52
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Re: How is the Boeing 747-8 a good freighter but a bad passenger craft?

Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:07 am

AirbusOnly wrote:
Wouldn't a converted A 340-600 a good freighter with huge capacity? Still nobody tried to convert it...are there 340 freigthers anyway? Ok...4 engines, but 747 also got them...

The A340 suffers from the same problem with the A330 in having a less than favorable cross section for cargo

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