Dramatic clouds greet AirBridgeCargo’s second 747-8F as it completes its first flight – a round trip from Paine Field to Moses Lake (KMWH) and back. This aircraft (msn: 37668), temporarily registered as N1788B, one of Boeing’s test registrations, is due for delivery this month and will ultimately wear the registration VQ-BLR.
Cargo Facts was on hand for the delivery ceremony of AirBridge Cargo’s first 747-8F back on January 26. Since then, the first AirBridgeCargo 747-8F has been deployed to AMS, PVG, FRA, MXP, and others from DME and SVO.
In other 747-8F production news, the third aircraft for Cargolux, LX-VCC, has returned to the Paine field flight line after refurbishment at San Antonio. This aircraft was part of the testing fleet and was seen on Cargofacts.net in December of 2010.
Speaking at the JPMorgan Aviation, Transportation & Defense conference last week, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh offered some tidbits about the 747 program’s 2012 status:
– We’re going up from one and a half airplane a month to 2 airplanes a month sometime in mid-year, we’re going to drive profitability into the 47 program and the 87 program.
– The dispatch reliability of this airplane is about 97% and compares very favorably to the 747-400 freighters that have been flying in the fleet for years.
– We should deliver the first passenger airplane to Lufthansa sometime early next month (April).
– We have a lot of interest in the 747-8 and we’ll be announcing some orders I think over the next several months.
– And I would anticipate over the next several months we’ll see some orders announced by customers for the 747-8 freighter.
Photographer: Alex Kwanten