New Boeing 747 Model Launched

Big - literally - big news. Today Boeing launched its biggest aircraft ever, the 747-8, which will enter service sometime in late 2009. Already it (well, the cargo version, at least) has gotten 5 billion dollars in orders from Luxembourg's Carolux and Japan's Nippon Cargo Airlines. Boeing says that its new plane will bridge the gap between current aircraft on the market and the mammoth A380, produced by archrival Airbus.

According to Boeing, there's also going to be a passenger version that's capable of seating 450 - about 105 smaller than the A380. So far, however, no airline has ordered the pax version, which has been dubbed the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. Most airlines who are interested in the 747 already have various models of it, the most numerous of which is the -400. But Boeing is bragging that the Intercontinental won't need to have upgraded airport facilities to handle it like the A380 will.