Well, this isn't a business blog, but since I run the stupid thing, I get to write about what I want to write about.
I've always loved flying, and aircraft. And I've basically grown up with the Boeing 747
Not that I flew when it entered service in 1970. We weren't exactly a wealthy family, and the closest I got to setting foot in one of these things then was the observation deck at Kennedy Airport
When relatives came to visit from Ireland, they flew on these proud aircraft. Now, Aer Lingus flits with their generic Airbuses, which zip to the gate unnoticed at JFK. Even in the scrapyard in Arizona, their "St. Kiernan" 747 has more dignity in its desert afterlife than every Airbus ever built. You'll never hear comments like this when their Air buses retire.
I first flew the 747 in the 1980s, on Pan Am to Europe before Pan Am became Pan Am sadly ceased to be. And then a long gap until September 2005 when I made my little trip to Vietnam on Eva Air, the Taiwanese airline. I flew their 747 Newark-Seattle-Taipei, then another 747 to Saigon. Then it was one 747 from Hanoi to Taipei, then another from Taipei-Seattle then on to Newark. All over again, I appreciated the majesty of these planes. Flew across the world and back, and never a moment of discomfort. Air turbulence doesn't rattle this beautiful craft.
So imagine how I felt when I heard that the mighty Lufthansa has agreed to buy 20 of the newest generation of the plane, the 747-8. The 747 nearly went out of production a couple of years ago. The Airbus A380, a ugly catastrophe of a thing that seats 8000 passengers or something was supposed to be the wave of the future.
But now the A380 is trapped in a swamp of delay and engineering problems, while the 747 has been modernized with fuel efficient engines. As
Boeingsays in their specs:"Operating economics will offer a significant improvement over the A380. The 747-8 is more than 11 percent lighter per seat than the A380 and will consume 10 percent less fuel per passenger than the 555-seat airplane. That translates into a trip-cost reduction of 19 percent and a seat-mile cost reduction of more than 3 percent, compared to the A380." This modern version of the venerable craft does all this with a range of 8000 nautical miles. And looks good doing it.
An Airbus hack was quoted in the press saying that the 747 was just a "modernized Essel" or something like that. Huh? It's more fuel-efficient and generally costs less and its supposed to be the lesser aircraft?
The Germans are known for their engineering excellence. They studied this nine ways to Sunday, and bought the magnificent 747. A plane whose life has just begun. Long live the 747