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A new jetliner for high-flying business travelers

March 23, 2011

The latest version of Boeing’s iconic 747 jumbo jet is promising to put a smile on the faces of business travelers taking long-haul flights.

Boeing 747-8 Jetliner

The newly unveiled 747-8 Intercontinental is longer to allow for more seats – 24 in the first class cabin and 87 in business class – and provide more comfort on transcontinental flights. The 747-8’s interior was inspired by the company’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft, with a rounded staircase to the upper deck, higher ceilings and elongated windows.

Boeing Co. officials believe their new jetliner, which made its first official flight March 20, will be the aircraft of choice for business travelers – as well as airlines looking to lower operating costs while pleasing their customers.

The striking new interior boasts a red and orange color scheme, a departure from its traditional blue design. The new colors were selected to appeal in particular to Asian customers whose culture associates red and orange with prosperity and good fortune.

Boeing 747-8 Interior

Boeing is especially keen on expanding its sales in Asia, a region of the world that is experiencing dramatic increases in air travel. The Chicago-based company, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, already has booked orders for 33 copies of the 747-8 to airlines including Lufthansa and Korean Air.

The new jetliner is Boeing’s largest to date, capable of carrying 467 passengers. It will compete with the Airbus A-380, which has 525 passenger seats. Boeing considers one of its key advantages a lower operating cost of 6 percent per seat compared to the A-380.

Boeing’s Vice President and General Manager Pat Shanahan made no secret of his excitement while speaking during the new jetliner’s unveiling ceremony at the company’s plant in Everett, Washing. Shanahan effused: “Look at this marvelous flying machine. It is our future.”

Business travelers are no doubt hoping for the same.