On September 29 Boeing and Air China celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first 747-8 Intercontinental. Air China is the first carrier in Asia to operate the passenger version of the new 747-8. The new aircraft is the first of seven 747-8 Intercontinentals Air China has on order.
“Air China has been operating 747s since the 1980s,” said Song Zhiyong, President of Air China. “This iconic airplane has played an important role in Air China’s international development and has also witnessed many milestones of the reform and opening-up of China. We are very proud to introduce the new 747-8 into our fleet to continue its tradition into the future.”
Air China, the flag carrier of the People’s Republic of China, will operate the new airliners as it continues to expand its international routes.
“We are extremely honoured to partner with Air China to introduce the first 747-8 Intercontinental into Asia,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “The 747-8 Intercontinental will deliver improved operating economics, efficiency and environmental performance in support of Air China’s growing long-haul fleet. This historic delivery demonstrates the continuity of our long and enduring partnership with Air China.”
Boeing says the 747-8 Intercontinental will bring double-digit improvements in fuel consumption and emissions over its predecessor, the 747-400, while generating 30% less noise. The aircraft’s interior, inspired by the 787 Dreamliner, includes a new curved, upswept architecture giving passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort, while adding more room for personal belongings. The 747-8 Intercontinental is powered by GE Aviation’s GEnx-2B engines.
Boeing’s partnership with Air China dates back to the 1970s. In addition to the 747-8 Intercontinental, Air China also has 15 787-9s on order. Air China has received all of its 20 777-300ERs in the last three years and is one of the largest 737 operators in China.