Launch customer and German flag carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG has taken delivery of the first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (747-8i or 748i), the latest variant of probably the most recognised airplane in the world.
Lufthansa is getting the airplane which is registered D-ABYA ready for its delivery flight to Frankfurt on May 1. Boeing will host a celebration with senior executives from both companies that day while Lufthansa will host a special celebration when the airplane arrives in Frankfurt on May 2.
An informed source has indicated, that is almost certain, that Lufthansa will deploy the 748i to India, ahead of an announced deployment to Chicago and Los Angeles.
India is the second largest market for the carrier, after the US, and with India’s civil aviation ministry refusing to act on the airline’s long standing requests to operate the Airbus A380 superjumbo to Delhi, Lufthansa desperately needs the 747-8i to rejuvenate its Boeing 747-400 cabins which are a generation behind the competing Gulf majors. Similarly, Lufthansa is expected to upgrade the Bangalore route to the 748i in order to continue its leadership of the lucrative IT traffic with California, especially San Francisco.
The 747-8i called “The Queen of the skies” uses improvements inspired by those originally developed for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. These include a new curved, upswept interior architecture giving passengers a greater feeling of space, increased space for cabin baggage and other personal belongings. The aircraft features Lufthansa’s new business class. (See photos and video here).
The 748i is powered with GE Aviation’s GEnx-2B engines which offer significantly reduced noise and fuel consumption levels.