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August 17, 2010

Boeing Submits 747-8 Bid for New South Korean Presidential Jet

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Written by: BNO News
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Asiana 747-400 HL7428
Asiana 747-400 HL7428

This Asiana 747-400 (HL7428) transported the South Korean President to New York for the United Nations General Assembly in 2009. (Photo by Senga Butts)

The Boeing Company has proposed an executive version of its 747-8 jetliner to serve as South Korea’s new presidential aircraft and will likely win the contract as bidding rival EADS dropped out, the Yonhap news agency reported on Monday.

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak currently uses a Boeing 737, which was introduced in 1968, for his travel but sometimes uses a leased Boeing 747 for intercontinental trips. The 747-8, which is the latest model of the wide-body commercial airliner, is the largest 747 version and the largest commercial aircraft built in the United States.

The aircraft is now undergoing final testing and is already in its early production stages. In addition to the South Korean government, the U.S. Air Force is also looking to upgrade Air Force One by replacing the current Boeing VC-25 (which is two modified 747-200Bs), though it’s not yet clear what model would be used to replace it with. Currently, Boeing is reported to be exploring a 747-8 proposal and a Boeing 787 variant for U.S. President Barack Obama.

Boeing says that the 747-8 will be quieter than its -400 predecessor and 16 percent more fuel-efficient. Currently, the largest customer for the aircraft is Lufthansas German Airlines, with 20 of the international variant ordered.

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