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Airline companies consider two to be better than four.
Might the end for passenger travel on four-engine aircraft be near? This is a matter that Boeing and Airbus may soon have to address, as Boeing and Airbus' four-engine passenger aircraft are languishing with the world's two largest aircraft producers. The fact that Boeing 747 - perhaps the most famous aircraft in the whole wide aviation industry - and the giant A380 "Superjumbo" aircraft from Airbus are fighting for the passenger airlines' ability to provide haulage may come as a big shock.
However, the passenger jet passenger generation of these aircraft is in a state of flux due to a sea movement in the aerospace sector. On the other hand, the new twin-engine A350, which has been in service with airline customers since 2015, has received nearly 850 orders. Boeing has 47 orders for its latest passenger 747 model, the 747-8 Intercontinental.
" Although the immediate prospects of the 747 as a cargo ship appear certain, Boeing admitted that it did not anticipate much market for the passenger version of the jets. Boeing's twin-engine 787 aircraft is experiencing heavy sell-off. Even though recent 777 unit orders have been slow, the large car is still one of the best-selling cars in the whole hemisphere.
According to industry experts, progress in aero engines and refuelling technologies has made twin-engine aircraft the first option when carriers want to upgrade their passenger fleet. Ask the Pilot website hosted Patrick Smith says the economy has geared the shuttle - perhaps beyond repair - to twin-engine passenger aircraft. It would have been difficult to have imagined such a trend in the fifties, when the de Havilland Comet and the Boeing 707 - both four-engine aircraft - launched the era of civil aircraft jetting.
Boeing did not take long to launch its twin-engine Narrowbody 737, a resounding hit that would become the best-selling aeroplane in the annals of merchant air travel. Airbus' first twin-engine Airbus plane - the large-capacity Airbus jet model Airbus A 300 - made its début in the early 1970s. Four-engined and three-engined aeroplanes remain a cornerstone of passenger flight, especially on long-haul intracontinental services.
In the 1990s, the volatility of petrol pricing, increased dependability and lower running cost began to shift the balance in favour of less powered aircraft. Air carriers around the world had already opted for twin-engine narrowbodied aircraft for most of their home and short-haul "mainline" flights, with the 737 and A320 Family aircraft absorbing most of these problems.
They can now continue to operate under full load in upgraded version of narrowerbody, and carriers are using these smaller aircraft more and more for travel between the US and Europe. Nevertheless, four-engine wide-body aircraft were still a favourite choice among long-haul carriers on long journeys internationally, but this too had started to alter in the 2000s.
An important shift towards twin-jet aircraft can be attributed to the development of the "ETOPS" standards for long-haul operations. The ETOPS - initially an abbreviation for "Extended Range Operation with Two-Engine Airplanes", abbreviated to the easier "Extended Operations" - was a series of directives from the 1980s that required twin-jet aircraft to remain within 90 min of the next detour destination.
This was a security measure to protect against power plant failures during air travel, but as the power and reliability of the power plant increased, it became more and more common to allow twin-engine aircraft to travel further away from the deflection points. These are open connections across the entire globe - journeys that twin-engine aircraft were not previously allowed to operate for frequent departures with an air carrier.
As a twin-engined wide-body aeroplane which made its maiden voyage in 1994, the "Triple Seven" quickly gained shares of the airlines offering such services thanks to its long reach and economical operations. Aeroplane reach and capability - both passenger and freight - make it comparable to the 747, but operational cost is significantly lower.
The longest passenger trip in the history of the company is a prime example of the differences a twin-jet has made. Singapore Airlines kept this track for almost a decade with its travels between New York and Singapore. In 2004, the airline started this service with its four-engined Airbus A 340, the only passenger plane able to fly the 9,500-mile trip with a full passenger and freight capacity.
Next year Singapore Airlines will regain the longest leg crown when it resumes the journey with a new ultralong distance variant of the Airbus A 350. For the first non-stop services between Singapore and the United States since 2013, the carrier launched its flagship Airbus A 350. ULR will amend this and allow the nonstop services to New York and Los Angeles through Singapore to be resumed.
Returning these itineraries - and the fact that carriers will be flying in more effective twin-jet aircraft - will be a win-win situation for travellers who have to move between distant targets.