747 the end of an era?
So it says an article of the Brazilian publication Aero Magazine. According to this news magazine the long range intercontinental routes for the Queen of the Skies might have it's days counted, specially in the Pacific that for now is the area of the world where the 747 flies more in log range and ultra long range connecting mainly the US to Singapore, Japan and several other countries in Asia.
According also with Aero Magazine Japan Airlines retired their 747 fleet in 2011 and All Nippon Airways retired their last 747-400SR used in shorter domestic routes with high PAX demand, on March this year.
Other airlines are referred for leaving the 747 operation such as Air New Zealand Cathay Pacific Philippine Airlines and more recent Delta Airways. The same article justify this strategy of airlines as they are now switching the four engine 747 for two engine aircraft with long range capabilities such as Airbus A330 for shorter ranges and the Boeing 777 for long range and ultra long range. Beside the loss of cargo and passenger capacity on each flight the return per PAX is higher due to the lack of two engines that witch require more fuel and more maintenance.
Some airlines like United Airlines claim that the 747-4 fleet will be replaced gradually with the entry of the new 747-8 more fuel efficient and wit bigger capacity.
For now there are 51 orders for the 747-8 intercontinental, the passenger version and 69 for the 747-8f the cargo version including a new order by Cargolux, first B747-8 operator that claims that there is no other plane with the same cargo capacity in the market.
Aero Magazine also says that specialists claim that the tendency for airlines will be to operated twin engine aircraft for economic reasons an issue that can compromise not only Boeing but also Airbus with it's A380.