AIRCRAFT manufacturer Boeing yesterday unveiled its first new 747 passenger aircraft design for more than 20 years.
The 747-8 Intercontinental jumbo jet was introduced to around 10,000 workers, guests and the media at the firm’s jet factory in Everett, near Seattle.
The 747-8 design is 85 per cent new, only relying on some elements of the original 747 plans, and has new more fuel efficient wings, tail and engines.
As the biggest jumbo jet Boeing has manufactured, the plane is 250 feet long and can seat as many as 467 passengers – 51 more than the current range.
The glamorous ceremony to introduce the jet, which has an eye-catching red, orange and white, striped paint scheme, was intended to drum up interest amongst operators.
However airlines have so far given a cool reaction to the new plane, with Boeing only having received 33 orders for the $317.5m (£198.4m) aircraft.
German flag carrier Lufthansa has placed 20 orders so far, whilst Korean Air Lines has agreed to buy the rest.
The first plane the public will get the chance to fly on will be delivered to Lufthansa in 2012.
A freight version of the aircraft has had more success, with 74 sales to date.
The US firm had attempted several times to develop an updated version of the 747 after it released the last version of the iconic plane in 1989, only to be thwarted by a lack of interest amongst operators.
The 747 long ago lost its place as the world’s largest airliner, when the 525-seat Airbus A380 was unveiled in 2005.