Which Airlines Operate The Boeing 747-8?

The Boeing 747, also known as the Queen of the skies, is an aviation icon. The aircraft with two passenger decks is instantly recognizable thanks to its hump at the front. However, in the latest quarter Boeing delivered just one Boeing 747.

Boeing 747-8, Lufthansa, Air China, Korean Air
Lufthansa placed the largest Boeing 747-8 order. Photo: Lufthansa

The Boeing 747 is idolized around the world. However, as the industry trends towards two-engine aircraft, orders for the Queen of the skies have slowed. Boeing’s latest iteration of the Boeing 747 is the 747-8. However, only three passenger airlines actually ordered the type. Let’s take a look at those airlines!

Air China

Air China has the smallest Boeing 747-8 fleet out of the trio. The Chinese airline placed two separate orders for the type giving it a total of seven Airlines. The airline’s first order was for five of the aircraft placed on the 6th of September 2012. However, the airline went on to order an additional two of the aircraft type. This additional order was placed just over a year later on the 21st of December 2013.

Boeing 747-8, Lufthansa, Air China, Korean Air
Air China placed two separate Boeing 747-8 orders. Photo: Boeing

Korean Air

Along with Air China, Korean air also placed two separate Boeing 747-8 orders with Boeing. Korean Air’s fleet of these aircraft is slightly larger than Air China’s. However, their original order was for the same number.

Korean Air placed the first of their orders for the type on the 7th of December 2009. This order was for five of the aircraft, similar to Air China’s original order. Following this, Korean Air ordered an additional five Boeing 747-8s on the 24th of October 2013.

Boeing 747-8, Lufthansa, Air China, Korean Air
Korean Air ordered a total of 10 Boeing 747-8 aircraft. Photo: tjdarmstadt via Wikimedia

Lufthansa

Lufthansa is the largest airline operator of the Boeing 747-8. The German flag carrier ordered all of its aircraft before Air China and Korean Air placed their first orders respectively.

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Lufthansa’s order was for a total of 19 aircraft. This was placed on the 6th of December 2006.

Boeing 747-8, Lufthansa, Air China, Korean Air
The Boeing 747-8 is more efficient than previous generations. Photo: Lufthansa

Why hasn’t the 747-8 been a hit?

The Boeing 747-8 hasn’t been as huge of a hit as previous generations of the aircraft. In fact, excluding freight, private use, and undisclosed orders, only 36 of the aircraft have been sold with Boeing delivering just 5 aircraft in 2019 up until the end of September.

But why hasn’t the Boeing 747-8 been a hit? It’s all to do with fuel efficiency. Despite the 747-8 being more efficient than previous generations, four engines can’t beat two in terms of efficiency. This is why some airlines are looking to replace their four-engined aircraft with newer, more fuel-efficient dual-engine replacements.

Have you flown on the Boeing 747-8? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!

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Phil

You know what I reckon Qantas would have greatly benefited by ordering just 5 of the type!

Luke Mellor

CargoLux have 14 of these beasts that make use of the 4000m runway. When you take off/land there is always a fleet of them waiting for maintenance or loading at one end or the other of the runway.

Mark Scott

Why not have a twin engine 747? Surly new engine tech means its feasible these days.

xborgph

Agree, come up with a 747-XDE (Experimental Double-Engine) prototype using the latest engines available that can provide better thrust-weight-efficiency ratios? Just a wild idea 😁

Shapes

The 747max is a real possibility when boing runs out of ideas and cash for new planes. It would also make use of surplus 737max engines when that plane is quietly retired.

Flemming Stücker

Yea, FRA-SAO (LH) and FRA-MEX (LH) both c class and great way to arrive after 12 hours in the sky.

Scott Schultz

ORD-FRA on Lufthansa on the upper deck. Not a terrible way to travel.

Andrew Cripps

Hi, I live under the flight path approaching OR Tambo Int Airport, Johannesburg South Africa.
I haven’t flown the 747-8, but i can tell you, its the noisiest aircraft on approach of all the many airliners that fly over us, including the 747-400 and the A380.

Philip Toogood

Korean Air Seoul – London – Seoul upstairs on window superb. Personal aisle access…bin storage between seat and window not only useful but gives a great feeling of space. Almost total privacy on your own or open the divider and communicate with companion. Very quiet and a long way from under carriage. Intimate cabin space gives nice feel of true business class. Love it.

zulu

Traveled on the same trip on the LH 747-400 and the 748-800 (each flight longer than 9 hrs). Business one leg, Econ the rest. Through FRA. I found that specifications don’t lie (at least as far as the PaxEx is concerned). LH used the extra room in the 800 to add Business seats over Economy seats and toilets. So although the seats are the same size in both aircraft the P-Ratio goes from 32 to 46 from the 400 to the 800: and the toilet line-ups demonstrated this. The 800 is quieter and the overhead bins larger than the 400… Read more »