Boeing has completed 50 per cent of the design releases for the new 747-8 Freighter. The program has released the 747-8 Freighter’s detailed designs to Boeing factories and its suppliers in order to begin building parts, assemblies and tools for the new cargo aircraft.
The 747-8 Freighter, which launched in November 2005, is scheduled to start delivering in late 2009 to launch customers Cargolux and Nippon Cargo Airlines.
The airplane will be longer than the 747-400 Freighter by 18.3 ft (5.6 m) and enjoy a maximum structural payload capability of 140 metric tonnes with a range of more than 8,000 km. It will offer 16 per cent more revenue cargo volume than its predecessor, allowing the plane to accommodate four more main deck pallets and three more lower-hold pallets. Powered by GEnx engines, the 747-8 Freighter will be 17 per cent more fuel efficient than the 747-400 Freighter and 30 per cent quieter.
In addition to the aircraft’s efficiencies, the 747-8 Freighter will complement the new 777 Freighter with the ability to transfer cargo directly between the two. The main-deck cargo doors on both planes are sized to accommodate three metre-high pallets for easy interlining.
The efficiencies offered by the 747-8 Freighter are evident in the strong market demand for the aircraft. To date, Boeing has secured 78 orders for the new 747-8 Freighter from 10 leading cargo operators.