Delivering The Incredible

It’s hard to believe just a little over a year has gone by since the 747-8 Intercontinental made her world debut. I took my son to the premiere event in our Everett factory to see the new Queen of the Skies decked out in a gorgeous sunrise livery. It was a day we’ll both remember.

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One year ago— at the Intercontinental’s premiere with my son Joel.

Today, we celebrated as the very first 747-8 Intercontinental to be delivered took off from Paine Field. While the VIP customer of the airplane didn’t want to be identified, you could clearly identify what has become a symbol of Boeing as she took to the skies on her delivery flight.

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The 747-8I takes off today on its delivery flight.

This is shaping up to be a great year for the 747 program. Delivery of the Intercontinental for our first airline customer Lufthansa will happen very soon, and feedback from the early customers of the 747-8 Freighter has been very positive. The airplane has been incredibly reliable — about 97 percent; well above what you’d expect from an airplane in its first months of service. And the airplanes are actually burning about 1 percent less fuel than we predicted they would in service, the program’s chief engineer Bruce Dickinson said at a press conference today.

This is now the airplane of choice for many heads of state, particularly in the Middle East. At one point during today’s event, 747 Vice President & General Manager Elizabeth Lund was asked if the Intercontinental could soon become the U.S. President’s new ride.

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This huge model of a 747-8 VIP airplane served as the backdrop for today’s event.

“We would love to sell the 747-8 as a replacement for Air Force One,” she replied.

Now wouldn’t that be a beautiful sight? To our 747 team, congratulations for once again delivering the incredible.

Comments (13)

Ethan R. (Charlotte, NC):

Great picture and still a beauty. I can't wait to fly.

V V (Montréal, Québec):

When the A380 was launched in 2000 I thought there would not be any other 400+ seater. When Boeing launched the 747-8 Intercontinental in 2005 I was quite surprised because many industry observers said that the market for 400+ seater would be too small to accommodate two of them. Were they all wrong?

There are now two 400+ seater in the market. Will there be ultimately only one?

Rsa (Claremont):

Very beautiful plane, wish to ride it soon, hope more commitment will be received. good luck Boieng, good accomplishment B747-8i program

Kevin (Los Angles, CA):

There will be only one 400+ seater, and one 500+ seater. Two different aircraft for two different markets. My two cents; ;-)

Andrew Boydston (Boise,Id USA):

It's a proud time for 747-8 Intercontinental. What a beautiful Airship. As large as it is, it has been found that the 747-8F is getting into twice as many airports as the A-380 is able. Airport space is limited yet this aircraft has a similar airport footprint as the 747-400. Return On Investment will be solid as it still has a distinct niche in the transportation industry.

Nikki Sheppard (Manchester, UK):

Are you doing any events at Manchester England anytime soon?

maria (goose creek sc):

Nice plane. Good job and keep it up. Delivering quality finish product will entice more customer in the future.

V V (Montréal, Québec):

Re: Kevin (Los Angles, CA) February 28, 2012 21:17

Kevin,

Yes, you are right.
One is alone in the 400-500 seat market and the other is alone in the 500+ market.
However, before the 747-8 Intercontinental launch, the A380 was the only 400+ seater. The question for an airline was either to stay with the 777-300ER or jump to the A380. That's one heck of a jump in capacity.

Today, the question suddenly becomes different, "747-8 Intercontinental or A380?"
How many airlines will mix the two aircraft? How many other will make a small jump to the 747-8i instead of making the giant leap in capacity?

I sincerely believe there will ultimately be only one or none.

pier (brisbane, OZ):

if B 747-8i becomes the US president new ride, the other big boss (President or king i mean) will ride this new one also. So,,gooo.....!

Kevin (Los Angeles, CA):

Different airlines have different seating configurations for the same aircraft. For those flying the 773ER with ~300 seats, the 747-8I can be more than a 'small' jump. Anyway, I believe that the introduction of 747-8I makes it more interesting for all aviation fans to watch how the VLA market evolves.

Patrick McArdle (BT&E Flight Test Engineering. KBFI):

Thank you for this story. The 747-8 is, indeed, "Incredible Again." I flew aboard a 5,000 nautical mile test flight, last October, and the ride was incredibly smooth. (Believe it or not, about as smooth as a 777!) Later in October, during Extended-Operations (ETOPS) testing in Barbados, we landed in a tropical shower at Grantley Adams Int'l, and even lightly loaded (by 747 standards!) we had a smooth landing.

While no other big ol' jet airliner can compare to the 787 for quality of ride, the 747-8 sets the highest standard for metal airplanes. Cap't. Imrich's praise for the aircraft, given immediately after he and Mark F. performed the First Flight of the 747-8F, remains valid: "The airplane is a beautiful airplane."

Norman (Long Beach, CA):

Congrats to the initial costumer on the delivery of the first 747-8 Intercontinental. With Lufthansa, Air China and Korean Air being 747-8I consumers, I can imagine the 747-8I being a common site at LAX creating a great opportunity for the people in the Los Angeles area to fly on the 747-8 Intercontinental, not bad odds in prospective.

Richard (Vancouver, BC, Canada):

Following the story about the first 747-8i delivery, one question came to me, and I tried to find the answer. You may be the one with the answer

The "old" Boeing way was to number the aircraft type with a sub to say to whom the aircraft was made for following the Boeing customer list.
So a B747-400 was called a B747-430 for Lufthansa, 747-422 would be for United, 433 for Air Canada, and so on.

How are we going to know who made the original purchase of the aircraft in few years from now for the B747-8 and the B787?

There is no indication on the first (VIP or commercial) 747-8i to indicate the owner, other than guessing by the country code in the original , non-test, registration.
Could the first one to LH be actually called a B747-8i-30?

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