Lady in red

It made its debut during one of the most elaborate unveilings we’ve ever done. The very first 747-8 Intercontinental, introduced to the public in February 2011 with a surprise “sunrise” livery, has now been delivered to an undisclosed BBJ customer. It marked the 10th Intercontinental delivery to date and the 25th 747-8 delivery this year.


The first 747-8 Intercontinental during its premiere in February 2011.

The airplane was fondly known as “Big Red” because of its red and orange livery. That livery was designed to honor the many Boeing customers whose cultures recognize these colors as symbols of prosperity and good luck.


The airplane was a key member of the Intercontinental flight test program. From crosswinds testing in Iceland, to Function and Reliability and ETOPs, “Big Red” helped verify time and time again that the airplane met all certification requirements. Since the conclusion of the flight test program, the airplane has undergone refurbishment to restore it to a delivery configuration. One of the final steps prior to delivery was repainting the airplane - removing its famous livery.


Me and my son Joel at the premiere of the 747-8I in Feb. 2011.

While that distinctive livery will now only live in photos, we can take comfort knowing the airplane is where it belongs—with our customer. So long to our lady in red. Thanks for bringing smiles to so many faces.


Comments (10)

Norman (Long Beach, CA):

The lady in red looks more like a lady in orange akin to the orange livery placed on Braniff's 747 but she is graceful and deserving of more orders. The 747-8I would look great in a United Airlines, Qantas, British Airways or Delta Livery.

Jan (Tulsa):

A beautiful lady indeed. So glad she will get to keep flying, but we will miss that lovely livery. Thanks Randy.


As a pilot flying the -8F, I can tell you that it is about 20% more efficient than the -400 depending on which metric is used. It's a good airplane, but is it good enough to compete with the next generation of big twins? Or even the 777-300ER? ... which has very similar per seat and tonne numbers at significantly lower trip costs. So perhaps the -8I is plagued most by the uncertain economy which makes potential buyers wonder if they will be able to fill it.

The safe bet is to buy the big twin and leave some profits at the gate when times are good and be glad not to be fueling four engines when they are bad. That said, certain hubs will always support an aircraft this size regardless of the economy. I just think Boeing will have to lower the price on the -8 a bit before it really starts selling. It will be interesting to see in 10 years time how many -8Is will be in service as compared to the A380. We all know from history that Airbus will lower the price as much as is required to keep things moving. Boeing has less tendency to do this and has the freighter version to fall back on if passenger sales are not there.

Ken ( Edmonds,WA ) (Edmonds, WA U.S.A.):

I work on the 747-8 Main Deck Floors crew. This is a beauty of a plane and she is deserving of the name "Queen of the Skies". She would look beautiful in any livery, and I look forward to being part of this planes building for many years to come, thanks Randy!!

Fabián (Alajuela, CRI):

Increíble el Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental o el gran rojo. Uno de mis favoritos. ¡Simplemente increíble!

Mohammed Assaf (Gaza):

I thank all those involved in the success of Boeing in terms of civil evolution and sophistication to the top
I like this company in terms of innovation in the aviation world as he always looking for the best
I wish this company further progress and development and success
With best wishes

J (Eugene, Oregon):

I miss seeing this Sunrise Livery gracing the skies. At least it will live on in photos! What are the chances that some airline will adopt it for one of their birds like the blue Dreamliner livery that was applied to a China Airlines 747 and an Alaska Air 737?

Also, was curious what the large white rectangles that were painted on this aircraft later in the test program/certification process were for?

Vern (Sydney, australia):

Keep up the excellent work Boeing

Charles Castle (Los Angeles, CA):

Thank you Boeing, for the great and everlasting inspiration!


My guess is probably soon after it's ftietd with it engines and interior. I'm guessing but I think the decision was made to leave it white until Boeing, ANA and LAN had finalized the agreement to swap delivery positions.

Post a comment

We welcome your comments. However all comments are moderated and may not post immediately. Offensive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not treat any comments you submit as confidential information. Please do not submit comments that contain any confidential information belonging to anyone else.

By submitting a comment to Randy's Journal, you agree to our site terms and privacy policy, and to having your name displayed with your comment. All or part of your comment may be posted or cited in the blog. Your name and personal information will not be used for any other purpose, and we will not publish your e-mail address.


More posts