Now that the 747-8 intercontinental has achieved FAA and EASA certification, it’s nearly time for that first delivery. Though some of the early 747-8i’s will be VIP aircraft, the first to enter airline service will be with Lufthansa, and we’re proud to show it off to you today. D-ABYA (msn: 37827) inherits its registration from the very first 747-130 delivered to the German carrier in 1970.
The new 8i is considerably longer than that -100, and Lufthansa will be gradually replacing its 747-400 fleet with the new intercontinentals over the coming years. The carrier has 20 747-8 Intercontinentals on order with options for 20 more. It currently operates a fleet of 29 747-400s, the newest of which was delivered in 2002. Lufthansa also operates the A380, but will use the 747-8i as a bridge in capacity between the A380 and the A340-600.
Though not a cargo aircraft, the 747-8i does offer a 26% boost in belly capacity over the outgoing 747-400 (passenger). According to Boeing, it will offer space for 7 pallets, 16 LD-1s, and an additional 640 cu. ft. of bulk space, compared to 5 pallets, 14 LD-1s, and a slightly smaller bulk area on the -400.
D-ABYA first flew on February 8th, and is seen here yesterday afternoon on a pre-delivery test flight.
Another Lufthansa-bound 747-8i, D-ABYE (msn: 37826) was used as the second aircraft in the 747-8i testing program, and will be delivered after refurbishment.
Photographer: Alex Kwanten