Boeing Working on Two New 747 Models, First Deliveries by 2000
SEATTLE (AP) _ The Boeing Co. is working on two new versions of its 747 jumbo jet _ one would carry more passengers and the other would fly longer distances than current models without having to refuel.
The company expects to deliver the first of the new models to airlines at least by the turn of the century, Susan Davis of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group said Friday.
The longer range 747-500x, which would have about the same seating capacity as the 747-400, would be able to fly 8,500-miles without refueling _ or nonstop between New York and Hong Kong.
The larger capacity 747-600x would seat 500 passengers and would have a slightly longer range than the current model.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Boeing executives expect to announce plans to proceed with the project sometime between this summer and the end of the year and have pegged the development cost at $4 billion.
The report also said British Airways PLC was in line to be the launch customer for the 747-600x and that United Airlines is one of the top contenders for launch customer for the 747-500x.
``This is our No. 1 product development priority,″ John Hayhurst, senior product development executive at Boeing Commercial, told the Journal.
The announcement of a decision to proceed with either model will depend on airline orders, Davis said.
``We’ve been talking with 16 airlines, primarily the large operators of the 747-400,″ she said. ``We never discuss the cost of a developmental program.″
To compensate for the additional weight of the new models, the engines must generate about 70,000 pounds of thrust, about 25 percent more than the 56,000 pounds produced by the Pratt & Whitney, General Electric and Rolls-Royce models now made for the 747-400, Davis added.
``We’re looking at both current existing engines as well as derivatives and development of new engines,″ she said.
Until last year, the most powerful commercial jet engines generated about 60,000 pounds of thrust. The new Boeing 777 twinjet was certified with engines rated at about 90,000 pounds of thrust.
Both the 747-500x and 747-600x would have a 245-foot wingspan, 34 feet longer than the 747-400.
The 747-500x would be 237 feet long, about five feet longer than the 747-400, with a three-class seating capacity of 430 passengers, an increase of 10.
The 747-600x would be 256 feet long with a 7,800-mile range, 300 miles longer than the 747-400.