"Exceptional" week for the 747-8

Today marked the beginning of a new era for the Queen of the Skies and also ended what has been one incredible week for the 747-8 program. Earlier today, Lufthansa’s 747-8 Intercontinental touched down at Dulles Airport in DC after its inaugural flight from Frankfurt. Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager of the 747-8 program, was on board to celebrate the very first revenue flight of the Intercontinental.


The airplane gets a water salute as it prepares to leave Frankfurt.


Lufthansa’s first revenue flight with the 747-8 Intercontinental leaves Frankfurt.

While this was a huge moment for Boeing, it was also a special day for Lufthansa. This airplane, which Lufthansa’s CEO Dr. Christoph Franz called “exceptional”, will initially provide service between Frankfurt and DC six days a week. The airline, which ordered 20 Intercontinentals, plans to expand 747-8 service to other U.S. cities in the coming months.

Earlier this week, the 747-8 program reached another significant milestone by delivering its 20th airplane. We also helped make a little history in the process. The airplane, a 747-8 Freighter, was delivered to Atlas Air—who will operate it on behalf of Swiss-based freight operator Panalpina. It marks the first time in Panalpina’s history that an airplane, dubbed the “Spirit of Panaplina”, has been painted in the company’s livery. With yesterday’s delivery, we’ve now delivered 16 747-8 Freighters, three Intercontinentals to VIP customers and one Intercontinental to Lufthansa.


The 20th 747-8 to be delivered.

Also this week, the 747-8 program officially moved up in production rate—going to two airplanes per month. If you’ve had the chance to tour our 747 factory in Everett, you’ll know building this airplane is no easy task. That’s why this rate increase is such an accomplishment.

Congratulations to our entire 747-8 team for all of this week’s accomplishments. I’m sure our friend Joe Sutter is all smiles.

Comments (18)

Ben Mitchell (San Luis Obispo, California ):

Beautifull! Love it!

Thad (Detroit):

I think you are right Randy. Mr. Sutter is no doubt smiling. Truly a wonderful week.

Patrick McArdle (Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington, USA):

While testing the 787-8 "Dreamliner" gave us here at Flight Test an opportunity to take part in the latest and greatest jetliner in the world, we were always acutely conscious that the 747-8 was the latest and greatest version of a truly iconic airplane -- one which is instantly recognizable, with no doubt whatsoever, anywhere in the world. The Queen of The Skies set the standard for comfort and style in air travel, and held it for longer than any airplane ever did. Testing the most recent edition of Joe Sutter's legacy gave us all great pride, and seeing it out flying, doing everything we intended it to do -- and doing it all so well -- makes me proud to be a Boeing engineer.

Vincent Nadugaddi (Bangalore, Karnataka, India):

I always love the very look of the 747 family. Am sure that the 747-8I will soon take on the A380 and beat it!

Greg (San Jose, CA):

Two great shots of the Lufty, the second in particular.

The Panalpina livery's a bit simplistic.

Tim K (Ont Can):

The title Queen of the skies is definitely correct. Every now and then in aviation a company just gets it right; a plane is designed and built with certain design goals and performance parameters which it meets and everyone is happy but something else happens as a pleasant side effect, it just ends up looking beautiful!

Two planes come to mind that achieved that result, the Concord and the WW2 British fighter the Spitfire. Both these planes where great at what they did and are legionary for that but they where also a work of art and no matter what angle you look at them they are just drop dead gorgeous. I think we now have to include the 747-8i in that exclusive group. The 747-8i is a large plane no doubt about it but it just looks majestic, elegant, classy and refined from any angle you look at it.

I know economics and profitability are at the top of the design goals for manufactures and airlines and that usually shapes the final design but from an aviation enthusiast point of view I just hope that the planes of the future will luck out have some of the beauty that aircraft mentioned above have but for now thank you Mr. Sutter and everyone else at Boeing for continuing to manufacture a thing of beauty.

adolfo pedregosa (hong kong):

Love this plane.

John Walton (Sydney, Australia):

After touring the plane at Lufthansa's #LH7478 event in Frankfurt, it's a hearty thumbs up from me at Australian Business Traveller. Can't wait to experience that stretched upper deck...

capnaux (PHX):

Gorgeous! I'm looking forward to seeing it on the line.

Whenever I see a 747, A380 or the like while taxiing around JFK, I have to admit I do get a little "size" envy, lol!


Tishy Singh (Springfield, VA):

Driving on the Parkway near Dulles airport, I saw the Lufthansa 747-8 banking to make finals to IAD. The wing gave it away. I cant believe I saw it on the second day of revenue service. Very nice airplane.

Thomas V. Horstmann Jr. (Portland, Oregon):

So great to see the Intercontinental in revenue service. I only hope more carriers start ordering it, as I for one, rather fly it than the A380. And I suspect is it less costly to operate, per passenger and overall.. unless they manage to fill the A380. And even then, I haven't seen any fixed numbers that indicate the A380 is less costly to operate per revenue passenger than the B747-I. Either way, it would fly the Intercontinental or the 777 rather than the A380, ANY DAY!

Norman (Long Beach, CA):

Way to go team 747! Congrats to Lufthansa on the their newest and also longest passenger plane in the world. The worlds first widebody airliner the 747 delivered over 42 years ago is now the newest and most modern widebody in the world with the new 747-8 Intercontinental.

Christopher O 'Brien (Chandler, AZ, USA):

The first time I ever flew, it was transatlantic from Shannon Ireland to JFK New York, and that flight sealed my love affair with this plane. What an iconic design. I was upgraded to the upper deck once on a transpacific flight and it was an incredible experience. The new 748-8i looks wonderful...congrats on all of the achievements detailed within this article!

Deanna Harms (Wichita, KS, USA):

Simply beautiful.

Cristiano Arruda (Campo Grande, MS, Brazil):

Dear Randy:

I want to share this beautiful news on the improvements that are being prepared for the 747-8i. This is a very beautiful news that proves that the 747 is a very efficient design aircraft.


Alfonso Alatorre (Mexico):

Hi randy something great happened here in Mexico city, involving a Boeing 777-F: After five months of negotiations and more than 40 hour flight, nine elephants arrived Friday at the International Airport of Mexico City (AICM) that were being slaughtered in Namibia, Africa.

In order to preserve this endangered species, the African Safari company undertook a series of negotiations between governments in order to avoid killing the animals, and thus offer them a place to live.

I guess it is a rather rare cargo and the B777-F made the life saving flight a very good story to tell.

Freddy Hagens (Frankfurt):

Greetings from DLH where we (CAS) are providing on-site EIS support for this wonderful bird Randy!

Sam (lavington):

This is a beautiful aircraft by all means. Two things I like about it. The ‘fly by wire’ is superb and responds perfectly. The feel when an input is made is swift and accurate. It is almost impossible to get out of the flight envelope thus making it a very safe airplane. Secondly , the ‘sutter’ wing effect thanks to the father of 747 Sutter makes the wing stable providing a smooth flight despite the enormous wings. Well done boeing.

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