If you’re wondering how much a Boeing 747 costs, you should know that they don’t come cheap. Boeing 747’s are very expensive planes, with the latest variant, the 747-8, costing around $450 million, but older discontinued models, like the Boeing 747-400, can cost as little as $10 million.
Compared to its major competitor, the Airbus A380, the Boeing 747 has lower purchase, operating, and fueling costs, making it cheaper overall in the long term.
How Much Does a Boeing 747 Cost? (By Variant)
The cost of a Boeing 747 depends on the variant, flight hours, maintenance records, and overall condition. Most airlines purchase Boeing 747’s in large numbers to reduce the cost per unit. The cost is also sometimes decreased by Boeing if the airline frequently purchases aircraft from them
For simplicity’s sake, we’re only going to mention the costs of new Boeing 747 planes, not used ones.
The 747-100 was the first variant of the Boeing-747. This plane was first used in 1970, and the first units of this plane were sold for $24 million at that time, which would be approximately $160 million in today’s money. The last Boeing 747-100 was sold in 1986.
The Boeing 747-SP was first active in 1973 with the last unit sold in 1989. The initial price of a Boeing 747-SP was $23 million in 1973 dollars. If we adjust that price for inflation, it would cost $154 million today.
The Boeing 747-200 was first manufactured in 1976, and it was discontinued in 1991 when the last unit was produced. The initial price of a Boeing 747-200 in 1976 was $39 million, which is $192 million according to today’s dollar value.
The Boeing 747-300 was manufactured for only seven years between 1983 and 1990. Upon launch, it cost airlines $83 million in 1983 dollars or $232 million in today’s money.
The Boeing 747-400 variant was produced from 1989 to 2005. Upon its introduction, the 747-400 model had an asking price of $156 million, which is approximately $350 million after adjusting for inflation today.
The Boeing 747-8 was first manufactured in 2008, and it continues to be produced today. When it was first introduced in 2008, the 747-8 variant cost $315 million or $405 million in today’s money. Presently, the official price of a Boeing 747-8 costs $418 million.
How Much Does a Boeing 747 Cost? (A Breakdown)
Now let’s take a look at closer look at how much a Boeing 747 costs while also comparing its costs to another one of the most popular commercial airliners in the world, the Airbus A380. For the sake of fairness, we’ll only make a comparison using the Boeing 747-8 variant, since it’s the latest variant. The 747-8 variant was first released in 2008, and it continues to be produced today.
Cost to Build
Due to the complex building process of aircraft, the constant price fluctuations of aircraft parts and components, and secrecy from aircraft manufacturers, the exact costs of producing an aircraft aren’t publicly disclosed. However, we can still figure out approximately how much a commercial airliner costs to build.
The estimated cost of a Boeing 747-8 is $350 million, and Boeing currently produces one 747-8 every two months. The Boeing 747-8’s direct competitor, the Airbus A380 has an estimated manufacturing cost of $400 million.
Due to its company’s more streamlined production system and higher demand, it’s believed that Airbus produces these planes at a cost of only $350 million for major airlines.
Cost to Fuel
The Boeing 747-8 does not usually fly with a full tank due to its high capacity, and the lack of benefit from the extra weight of a full tank. The cost to fuel a plane largely depends on local fuel prices and the supply of crude oil.
Going by averages, it would cost between $170,000-$200,000 to fuel a Boeing 747-8. The Airbus A380-800 costs more at $230,000-$260,000 to fuel. As you can tell, the fuel costs of a Boeing 747-8 are considerably lower when compared with the A380-800.
Cost to Operate
The operating cost of an airplane varies depending on the airline using it, but generally, airlines with longer flights, more passengers per flight, and more operations in areas with cheaper fuel have lower operating costs.
Taking an average for most airlines, we can conclude, the Boeing 747-8 has an average operating cost of $18,286 per hour. In contrast, the Airbus A380 has an estimated operating cost of $24,000 per hour.
Cost of Parts
An airplane’s parts and components can be very expensive, especially when it comes to the engines. The Boeing 747-8 uses 4 General Electric GEnx engines, which cost $13 million each, meaning that replacing all four of a Boeing 747-8’s engines costs $52 million.
The Airbus A380 uses the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, which have a variable price depending on the airline. For example, In 2015 Emirates bought 200 engines at $46 million each. In 2016, ANA bought the same engines for $25 million per engine.
Airplane windshields cost between $22,000-$35,000 on average for both Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s.
Related: How Much Does a Jet Engine Cost?
How Much Does a Boeing 747 Cost? (Used vs New Prices)
Buying a New Boeing 747
A new Boeing 747-8 costs around $420 million in 2021, but the price can be negotiated if an airline purchases multiple aircraft, or if they have a long partnership with Boeing.
Airlines that maintain all-Boeing fleets receive the best prices from Boeing. They could pay as low as $380 million for a new Boeing 747-8.
Buying a Used Boeing 747
A used Boeing 747’s price mainly depends on its model and flight history. A used Boeing 747-8 will cost almost $250 million since this model is still being produced and receives official technical support from Boeing.
A discontinued model, like the Boeing 747-400 can be bought for less, between $30 to $60 million depending on its condition. The oldest models like the 747-200 or 747-300 can be acquired for as little as $10 million.