Boeing Considers Larger B747 To Battle Airbus A3XX

Seattle-based Boeing Co. will probably launch a super-jumbo B747-X airliner, an extended version of the B747, to compete with the projected Airbus A3XX, later this year, company President Phil Condit said in Paris June 5. The 747-X would begin to be profitable after about 20 aircraft had been sold, he said, stressing that Boeing is interested in developing an aircraft that does not require major investment because the market for super-jumbo airliners is limited. The B747-X would be able to carry about 500 people, 60 to 90 more than the existing 747-400, and 50 fewer than the initial model of the projected Airbus A3XX. Boeing recently wrote to airlines interested in buying the Airbus jumbo to urge them to buy the stretched version of the B747. The Boeing project is estimated to cost about U.S. $4 billion, but Airbus puts the launch costs of its entirely new projected aircraft at about $12 billion. Airbus last week said it expects to receive 50 orders from five airlines for its projected airliner, and industry sources say this should be enough to enable Airbus to announce at the Berlin air show this week that it is launching an official sales campaign, a major step toward a launch of industrial production.

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