Boeing aims to launch 747 Advanced by year-end

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Unity is Our Strength
Nov 9, 2004
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Boeing aims to launch 747 Advanced by year-end
Fri Oct 21, 2005 6:31 AM ET
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PARIS (Reuters) - Boeing (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) is likely to launch a keenly awaited stretch version of the jumbo jet, the 747 Advanced, by the end of the year, a senior executive at the U.S. aerospace group said on Friday.
Randy Baseler, vice president of marketing for commercial airplanes, said airlines had mostly expressed interest initially in a freighter version of the more efficient and larger 747. But he hoped the early orders would include at least one purchaser of the passenger version.
The aircraft will carry 450 passengers, compared with 416 on the 747-400, and will have a slightly longer range of 8,000 nautical miles. Trip costs will be 6 percent lower than the biggest 747 model so far produced, Baseler said.
Boeing had said this month that it expected an announcement on the 747 Advanced soon.
"Most interest is in a freighter," Baseler told a Paris news briefing. Boeing has not recently sold any passenger versions of the 747 due to a glut of aircraft accumulated during a steep recession, from which the industry rebounded sharply this year.
Baseler said the global market for large commercial jets, in which Boeing competes with Airbus (EAD.PA: Quote, Profile, Research), should reach a record of about 1,600 orders in 2005.
If the industry follows its normal historical pattern, the number of orders should dip in 2006, he said, adding however that deliveries were a better way of monitoring the cycle.
Baseler also spelled out differences between Boeing and Airbus on which way the airline industry is heading over the next 20 years.
Both foresee sharp growth in aircraft demand as Asian economies open up further but disagree over how the passenger growth will be shared among aircraft types.
Airbus wants its new A380 superjumbo to be catalyst for a new market for planes carrying more than 500 people between major transport hubs.
Boeing, which had monopolized the jumbo jet market until Airbus designed the A380, switched its focus to the 200 to 300 seat range, arguing that it was better to fly people directly to their destinations than to force them to change planes at regional hubs.
Baseler said Boeing targeted a market of no more than 300 planes in the segment above 450 seats, less than one-quarter of Airbus's goal of selling 1,250 of its A380 planes.
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