It was a pleasure to answer your question. The question excited me
because I carried out a similar research in the recent past. That
assignment was related to the cost of a charter wide body Jumbo Jet.
Coming back to your question, I have compiled a list of different
sources that may answer your question.
There are three main kinds of costs related to the operation of an
aircraft. These include, the airborne cost (the cost of flying an
aircraft), the ground costs (the cost for the maintenance of the
aircraft, parking etc) and the variable costs. Sometimes the analyst,
for the sake of simplicity, only states the direct (airborne costs)
and the ground costs.
AIRBORNE (Direct Cost)
According to International Civil Association Organization, the average
direct operating (airborne) cost of a B 747-400 in the year 2000 was
$6,761 per hour. That included $2,620 of fuel costs and $4,141 other
costs (see 1). In 1999, the average direct operating (airborne) cost
of a B 747-400 was $6,455 per hour, according to the statistics
published by the Air transport Association of Canada (see 2). Still,
another study by the Stanford University revealed that the airborne
cost of a B 747-400 in the year 2000 was $22.58 per nautical mile (see
What about the ground costs? Well! A recent study carried out by the
Dayton Airport that quoted some highly reputed sources of air travel
for its figures, suggests that the ground costs in 2003 will be $42.76
per minute in comparison to the airborne cost of $61.08 per minute
(see 4). That means that the ground costs are around 70 percent of the
airborne costs in 2003. From these results we can estimate that the
ground costs of the B 747-400 will be approximately 70 percent of its
direct airborne costs.
Yet, another more precise estimate of the ground costs by PASSUR
revealed that the ground costs of B 747-400, operated by American and
Northwest Airlines, was around $5,200 per hour in 1997 (see 5).
TOTAL OPERATING COST (Airborne + Indirect)
If that is not sufficient, we can look at the formula projected by the
ATA (Air Transport Authority), which states that the total operating
cost of a Boeing 747 can be calculated by the formula: Total
Operating Cost / Direct Operating Cost = +1.0
It goes on to state that the total operating costs will be 1.7 to 2.5
times the direct cost (see 3). Taking into account the fact that B
747-400 is more fuel efficient and technically superior to B 747
100/200/300, we can assume that the total operating costs will likely
be less than the average of all B 747?s.
If you want to lean more about the different parameters that affect
the cost of the operation of a B 747-400 and other major airliners,
please consult the historical data at
Aircraft operating costs ? A detailed study
You may also like to refer to the B 747-400 specifications.
(1) Aircraft operating costs per hour and related costs (2000)
(2) Aircraft operating costs per hour and related costs (1999)
(3) Airplane Parameters effecting direct operating costs
Direct operating cost of a B747-400
Indirect Operating Costs
(4) Aircraft Operating Costs ? Airborne vs Ground
(5) Ground Operation Costs B747-400 Major Airlines
Useful Search Strategy
?< B747 operating cost >?
?< Operating cost airliner >?
I hope it will help you. Please, clarify if you are not satisfied. I
will be more than happy to serve you.