Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jets Falling Out of Favor

Boeing 747-400 Jumbo jets, which defined a carrier's status and a whole era in aviation, are rapidly declining in popularity.

Korean Air plans to sell 15 of its fleet of B747-400s by 2017, and Singapore Airlines already halted international flights using the B747-400 last year. Other carriers around the world are following suit.

The jumbo, which began commercial flights in 1988, is 70 m long and 19.33 m tall and can carry 400 passengers for more than 16 hours.

Attesting to its level of comfort, Cheong Wa Dae even leased a B747-400 aircraft as the official presidential plane in 2010.

But the aircraft is going out of fashion because it simply uses too much fuel. It takes enough fuel to power 2,600 mid-sized passenger cars to fly a B747-400 from Incheon to Los Angeles, which translates into W60 million (US$1=W1,154) or around W5 million an hour.

Korean Air wants to purchase five B747-8i aircraft to replace the B747-400s since they offer a 14 percent boost in fuel efficiency. Rival Airbus is also hard at Boeing’s heels, rolling out the "super jumbo" A380 to grab market share.

Asiana Airlines, which operates four B747-400s to carry passengers and another 10 for cargo, says it is also thinking about selling them and buying 36 A380s and A350s starting in 2014 and 2017.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 24, 2013 13:13 KST