In front of an estimated crowd of 10,000 employees, guests and journalists, Boeing showed off its newest plane, the 747-8 Intercontinental Sunday at its wide-body plant in Everett, Washington The Wall Street Journal reports.
There was a lot of speculation surrounding what livery Boeing would use for the rollout and the company pulled a little bit of a surprise by covering the plane in red, orange and white which deviated from the traditional blue livery that Boeing has used in recent years.
With only 33 orders for the 747-8 so far, Boeing still has to convince airlines that the new plane can fill in the gap between the 777 and the Airbus A380. At the ceremony today, Boeing’s president of commercial-airplanes division, James Albaugh, was unfazed by recent suggestions that the popular, extended range version of the 777-300 was making the 747 line obsolete.
“We’ve gone through a few struggles getting here,” James Albaugh, president and chief executive of Boeing’s commercial-airplanes division, said at the ceremony. “But this is an airplane that’s going to change the world once again.”
With the first flight expected to take place this spring and first delivery to occur by the end of the year, Boeing still has plenty of time to convince potential customers that there is still a market for the company’s only four engine, double-decker plane.
Sunday’s rollout was a celebration of a plane that has been the flagship in the wide-body market for more than four decades but more importantly, it was an affirmation that Boeing has no intention of abandoning the world’s most recognizable commercial airplane.