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Aviation consultant discounts report of Emirates’ interest in 747-8

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 11:08 a.m.

A Bloomberg report that Boeing is pitching its 747-8 to Emirates Airlines led some to hope that the struggling program was about to get a shot in the arm.

Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet.

The airline’s need for better fuel efficiency opened a window of opportunity for Boeing, which is promoting an updated 747, known as the 747-8I or Intercontinental, Boeing senior vice president for sales and marketing at Boeing told Bloomberg.

Boeing is fighting to land new customers for the 747-8.

“Don’t get excited,” a Tuesday report by aviation consulting firm Leeham Co., founded by Scott Hamilton based in Issaquah, Wash, said of the potential interest. “We doubt an order will be forthcoming.”

For one thing, Emirates president Tim Clark has poured cold water on the idea, the report said. Clark said the 747-8 can’t match the Airbus A380 economics.

In addition, it is clear that Emirates’ business model is built around the A380 and the Boeing 777-300ER and 777X, it said.

Spirit AeroSystems builds the nose section, body panels, wing center section, nose gear door and nacelles in Wichita for the 747-8.

Boeing produces 18 of the models a year, or 1.5 a month.

Deliveries peak in 2015 and drop significantly in 2016, even if all options and letters of intent were to be converted, Leeham’s report said.

Until the possible interest by Emirates surfaced, Boeing’s prospects for the 747-8 has been with the Pentagon.

The Air Force is planning to update its 747 Presidential fleet by 2023 and has been studying whether to replace its “Doomsday” fleet of four 747-200 jets, the Air Force told Bloomberg.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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