Boeing made the announcement soon after delivering Lufthansa’s first 747-8I on April 25, 2012. Lufthansa has 19 more 747-8Is on order, and will receive 5 of these during the course of this year, and the rest will be delivered over the next three years at a pace of 5 aircraft per year. Boeing expects that as Lufthansa’s first 747-8I gets into service in June 2012, this will prompt other potential customers for the 747-8I to place their orders.
Elizabeth Lund, Boeing 747 programme manager, said the aircraft maker has been promoting the 747-8I to several airlines. Lund said, "In the last 30 days, we have put out 25 proposals for aircraft [to a number of airlines]." Lund added that Boeing is targeting selling the 747-8I to airlines with 747-400 fleets. She added, "We're having conversations about where the -8 may fit in. Boeing feels the 747-8I is a viable aircraft for all long-haul decisions."
Lund said Boeing expects China to be the single largest market for the new jumbo. Currently, Boeing has orders for 130 747-8s for both freighter and passenger variants.
The 747-8I offers many cost advantages and more revenue potential compared to the A380.
In its description of the 747-8i on the company’s website, Boeing said,
Both the passenger and freighter versions of the 747-8 will allow operators to maximize their profitability. Seat-mile costs for the 747-8 Intercontinental are 13 percent lower than for the 747-400, with 2 percent lower trip costs. The 747-8 Intercontinental is more than 10 percent lighter per seat than the Airbus A380 and consumes 11 percent less fuel per passenger. That translates into a trip-cost reduction of 21 percent and a seat-mile cost reduction of more than 6 percent compared to the A380.
The 747-8 should be able to operate safely at any airport that currently has 747-400 service. The 747-8 will build on the current 747's capability to fly into most airports worldwide, using the same pilot type ratings, services and most ground support equipment. With a range of 8,000 nautical miles (14,815 km), the 747-8 Intercontinental can connect nearly any major city pair in the world.
All these favourable aspects of the 747-8s will help to boost orders for the aircraft.