747-8 Intercontinental Gains Momentum With Air China Order

Air China announced today that it has ordered five Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental planes, bringing the total orders for the passenger variant of the 747-8 to 38 and giving Boeing a possible boost in the highly sought-after Asian market The Seattle Times reports.

The order is worth $1.6 billion at list prices. With the expected discounts estimated by aircraft valuation firm Avitas, the real value is about $830 million.

Air China is one of the world’s largest airlines and has been flying earlier models of the 747 since the 1980s.

The passenger variant of the 747-8 has struggled to win orders since its launch in 2005 although the freighter version has seen more success with 74 orders so far.

The order was announced during the Asian Aerospace show in Hong Kong on Tuesday morning but will not become official until the Chinese government signs off on the order.

It may not be a very large order, but it is a significant step for Boeing in a region where airplane demand is expected to rise rapidly over the next two decades and the highly congested, heavily populated Asian markets appear to be an attractive suitor for wide-body planes such as the 747-8I.

The 747-8I was rolled out in February with first flight expected this spring and first delivery by the end of the year.

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