Boeing Commercial Airplanes has delivered its first 747-8 freighter outfitted with an updated GEnx-2B engines as part of a Performance Improvement Package to Cathay Pacific Airways. Cathay Pacific is a Hong Kong-based airline that mainly serves Southeast Asian destinations, though it has routes to 168 destinations in 42 countries.
The Boeing 747-8 is a wide-body jet, the fourth generation of the 747 series and the largest commercial aircraft built in the U.S.
The GEnx-2B is a GE Aviation-built, dual rotor, axial flow, high-bypass turbofan jet engine, developed as fuel-saving alternative to previous engine models. It is one of three major elements in Boeing’s Performance Improvement Package (PIP) for the 747-8, and the first to enter commercial service.
Boeing offers Performance Improvement Packages to provide operators with a cost-effective way to retrofit their existing jets, by saving fuel and reducing CO2 and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
The PIP engine improves the jet’s fuel-efficiency by 1.8%, according to Boeing. "With this improvement, 747-8 customers will use roughly 30 fewer semi-sized trucks of fuel per airplane per year," stated Bruce Dickinson, 747-8 chief project engineer and Boeing vice president.
Two more updates in the PIP program will become available soon: Flight Management Computer (FMC) software upgrades will be ready later this month; and reactivating the horizontal tank fuel system on the 747-8 Intercontinental will be completed early in 2014.
"This is a significant milestone for the 747 program,” according to Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of the 747 program. “These upgrades are part of our commitment to continually improve the 747-8 for our customers."