One of Boeing’s three 747-8I test aircraft, RC021, was scheduled to arrive at Frankfurt Airport today for four days of checks and rehearsals focused on ground handling procedures. Three Lufthansa pilots were to accompany the jetliner on its flight from Seattle to Germany.
RC021, which has been used to test interior systems such as heating, air condition and lighting, will eventually be the fifth 747-8I delivered to Lufthansa, Boeing said. The airline’s first 747-8I is completing construction at Boeing’s facility in Everett, Washington.
Boeing hailed the visit as a major milestone for the passenger version of the 747-8, which will replace the 747-400 and compete with the Airbus A380. Capable of carrying up to 467 passengers in a three-class configuration, Boeing says the 747-8 is 30 per cent quieter and 16 per cent more fuel efficient than the older 747.
The updated jumbo jet also features interior design cues taken from the 787 Dreamliner, including LED “mood lighting” and upswept architecture design to foster a greater sense of space and comfort.
Boeing began delivery of the cargo version of the jet, the 747-8F, in October. The company has so far announced 111 orders between the cargo and passenger version of the plane, with Lufthansa the first and largest customer of the passenger version with 20 on order.
Boeing and Lufthansa are conducting pre-delivery testing of the 747-8 Intercontinental as the German airline prepares to begin receiving the jumbo jet early next year.