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Lufthansa Brings the 747-8 Intercontinental to LAX

Lufthansa is now flying the Boeing 747-8I to LAX from Frankfurt. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

Lufthansa is now flying the Boeing 747-8I to LAX from Frankfurt. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

This week Lufthansa Airlines (LH) upgraded its Frankfurt (FRA) to Los Angeles (LAX) route by swapping it from the 747-400 to the 747-8 Intercontinental. Los Angeles becomes the second US Destination to be served by the aircraft, fourth overall and first destination on the west coast. Lufthansa is currently the only 747-8I operator in the world

“The selection of Los Angeles for our new flagship aircraft demonstrates the market’s critical importance for Lufthansa, which has had a presence in Southern California since 1960,” said Juergen Siebenrock, Vice President, The Americas for Lufthansa. “The FRA-LAX route connects the world’s two largest and most influential consumer markets for entertainment products- Hollywood and Germany. LAX is also an active gateway for pharmaceutical, IT, automotive industry and defense contractor industries, all of which are important customer segments for Lufthansa.”

BONUS: AirlineReporter.com takes the inaugural Boeing 747-8I flight

When I arrived at LAX, you could tell that there was excitement in the air. At the LH ticket counter there was a gigantic sunrise colored Boeing 747-8I model. Standing next to the model were some people from Boeing. They joked and gave me a hard time about my LH A380 tag on my bag from the A380 launch last year at San Francisco — oh well.

After I received my badge I was allowed to proceed to TSA where, even though we weren’t flying, they still wanted to put everyone through the body scanner. I politely opted out where I was able to enjoy a nice pat-down.

Lufthansa's Boeing 747-8I at LAX. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8I (D-ABYA) at LAX. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

At Gate 123, where the event took place, Lufthansa put on an amazing spread for everyone to snack on, from roast beef to smoked salmon, pretzels and little cookie airplanes that said Lufthansa 747-800. During the celebration, we received word that the aircraft was running a little late due to snow in Frankfurt, but nothing could wipe off the smile off my face.

As soon as stepping outside, we all looked up and noticed that the 748 was on downwind to land and at around 13:10 PST she touched down in LAX for the first time. Applause broke out from all of the VIP’s on hand while other members of the media clicked away as D-ABYA, named “Brandenburg,” threw her reverse thrusters on and came quickly to a halt. As she taxied to the gate, the LAX fire department completed a water canon salute and after parking at the gate, we headed back inside to listen to some of the invited guests speak.

BONUS: Video of Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8I coming into LAX via SpeedBirdHD

After the speeches, it was time to board the plane. My heart raced with excitement as this was only the second 747 that I have ever stepped foot on. Once on board we were told we had about 7 to 10 minutes before they had to prepare the aircraft for its departure. It was a little bit of a mad rush to get through the airplane, I sadly missed the first class cabin, but managed to get upstairs which was one of my goals. Sadly the flight deck door was closed, so I wasn’t able to see the all new advancements.

The Lufthansa 747-400 is a regular at LAX. This one has a bigger upper and lower deck. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

The Lufthansa 747-400 is a regular at LAX. This one has a bigger upper and lower deck. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

The 747-8I adds an extra 18 seats for the daily flight that will help increase capacity by 17% overall. First class is configured 1-1 with the exception of the last row that is 1-2-1, business class is 2-2-2 and coach is 3-4-3. The new product on the LH 747-8I is the business class lie flat seat; there are 92 of these on board the -8.

“We integrated our customers very closely into the development of our new Business Class so we would be able to offer a product that was totally in line with their wishes and requirements,” said Jens Bischof, member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board.

The aircraft generates a 30% smaller noise footprint that the 747-400 and brings double digit improvements in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions per passenger. This makes it one of the industry’s most fuel-efficient aircraft and key to Lufthansa’s commitments to sustainable reduction of carbon emissions. The 747-8I fuselage is 253ft 2in long which is 18ft 4in longer than the 747-400. This allows LH to carry 26% more cargo volume.

The aircraft also features an all new state-of-the-art wing for the 747 with improved aerodynamics and raked wing tips: all new fuel efficient General Electric GEnx-2B engines that contribute to a reduction in fuel burn, emissions and noise and thus giving customers the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large passenger airplane: and fly-by-wire technology.

It was hard getting off the plane, but I hope to be back on one soon enough.

This story written by…Brandon Farris, Correspondent. Brandon is an avid aviation geek based in Seattle. He got started in Photography and Reporting back in 2010. He loves to travel where ever he has to to cover the story and try to get the best darn shot possible.

@BrandonsBlog | RightStuffPhotography | Flickr

UPDATED: Who Owns This Boeing 747-8 VIP? A Mystery at Paine Field

Mystery 747-8 VIP (VQ-BSK) parked at the fuel dock at the Boeing Factory in Everett. Photo Mal Muir / AirlineReporter.com

Who does the newest Boeing 747-8 VIP seen at Paine Field belong to? I am not sure, but I have to say I love the livery.

As the 747-8 program continues to produce aircraft, the majority of these have been freighters (747-8F). Of the passenger variants (the 747-8 Intercontinental) only one airline has taken delivery of the type: Lufthansa. All the rest, with the longer upper decks (Freighter’s are shorter), have been sold as Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) to private buyers, or governments, marketed as the 747-8 VIP.

The First 747-8 VIP Departs Everett Bound for Vancouver. Photo David Parker Brown, Airline Reporter

The first delivery of a 747-8I was painted only in white. It was flown over the border to Vancouver, BC, then on to Wichita, Kansas before ending up at Lufthansa Technik in Germany for the rest of the interior installation. Even though there have been no official confirmations from Boeing or Qatar, it is widely assumed the aircraft belongs to the state of Qatar, who operates a fleet of diverse aircraft.

The 747-8 VIP painted for the State of Kuwait – Photo David Parker Brown, Airline Reporter

More recently, the first 747-8I unveiled, which was painted in the Sunrise Livery has been repainted and delivered its new owner. Once again, neither Boeing nor any government identity has confirmed it, but one can assume that this aircraft was for the State of Kuwait (see photo above and decide for yourself).

The Logo Adorning the tail of this Mystery 747-8 VIP – Photo Mal Muir, Airline Reporter

The newest Boeing 747-8 VIP came out of the paint hangar with a mysterious livery on December 1st. Rumors have flown about who might own this plane. Boeing Business Jet is not able to confirm who owns the aircraft, respecting the wishes of the customer.

However, the logo and registration number might provide some clues. The first VIP Intercontinental flew out with an A7 registration, which showed the plane was registered in Qatar. The newest aircraft is registered VQ-BSK. VQ is Bermuda based and not in Qatar, like A7. This adds to the mystery of the aircraft.

Also, most of the aircraft in the Qatar Amiri Fleet wear a very similar livery to Qatar Airways, which this plane obviously does not. The logo on the tail first struck me as something from the Middle East. After some additional research, I found, it is actually the logo for the “State of Qatar.”

Boeing 747SP (VP-BAT) which shares a very similar livery. Photo by Robin Kearney / Flickr CC.

Boeing 747SP (VP-BAT) which shares a very similar livery. Photo by Robin Kearney / Flickr CC.

Then you have the Boeing 747SP (VP-BAT), as seen above, in a very similar livery. This plane is also registered in Bermuda and is assumed to have belonged to Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, who was deposed at the ruler of Qatar in 1995, but returned in 2004.

Could this new 748 VIP be Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani’s new personal jet? Is this aircraft the first “official” 747-8 VIP of the Qatar Amiri Fleet with a new livery? Is it destined for the Amiri Fleet and registered in Bermuda for reasons unknown? Or is it destined to someone else affiliated with the state of Qatar?

It seems that the biggest game at Everett at the moment is: Who owns this 747-8 VIP and can I get a ride?

Story will continue to be updated. Thanks to Steven Frischling for additional background information.

This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.

@BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos

Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Takes Flight – Flight Blogger Photos

Lufthansa's first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental shortly after take off from Paine Field. Photo by Jon Ostrower.

Lufthansa's first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental shortly after take off from Paine Field. Photo by Jon Ostrower.

Jon Ostrower (aka Flight Blogger) was up at Paine Field yesterday when Lufthansa’s first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (D-ABYA) had her flight flight.

The first Boeing 747-8I is schedule to be delivered to an unknown VIP customer sometime soon and Lufthansa hopes to take delivery of its Intercontinental sometime in March.

CHECK OUT THE REST OF JON’S PHOTOS

How can you not love Paine Field?

How can you not love Paine Field?

Boeing Expects 747-8 Freighter Delivery in Early September (plus rad photo)

747-8F Flying Over 2011 Seafair Race. Photo by Boeing. Click for larger.

747-8F Flying Over 2011 Seafair Race. Photo by Boeing/Leo Dejillas. Click for larger.

Today, Boeing announced that the new 747-8 Freighter has received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This means the new jumbo-jet is in the final stages before being delivered to Cargolux. Boeing is expecting the first 747-8F to be delivered to Cargolux in, “early September.”

“This is such a great day for everyone on the 747 team,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes stated in a Boeing press release. “Over the last several years, this team has overcome challenge after challenge. Through their hard work and dedication, they have ensured that the 747, the Queen of the Skies, will fly for decades to come.” Boeing is expecting the passenger version, the 747-8 Intercontinental, will be delivered to Lufthansa Airlines sometime during the fourth quarter. Check out this Boeing video on the 747-8F testing process.

So, the big question is, which airliner will be delivered first? The Boeing 787 Dreamliner or the 747-8F. Either way, it is looking like September will be one awesome month for airline geeks around the world (and for Cargolux and All Nippon Airways).

About the photo: During Seattle’s Seafair, Boeing flew one of their 747-8F over Lake Washington. Although there was no Tex Johnston-like roll, I hear it was still a great site to see. This photo was taken by Leo Dejillas (and found on Randy Tinseth’s blog). I am assuming the photo was taken from one of Boeing’s T-38 chase planes. I think it does a nice job representing how great Seattle is, for how many other cities get a low fly over of a brand new aircraft on a sunny Sunday? (thanks Liz for helping me get my facts on the Seafair flyover straight — she was there and I wasn’t)

Official Video: First Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental for Lufthansa takes to the Sky

The second Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (named RC021) took to the skies on April 26th and Boeing has just release their official video.

This 747-8I is special, since it will be the first Intercontinental to actually enter passenger service and will be delivered to Lufthansa Airlines. The first (RC001), which first took off on March 20th, will be going to a private buyer.

As reported earlier, even though this Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental will be going to Lufthansa, it does not have the full livery since the aircraft is going through flight testing. However, I have heard rumors that a full liveried Lufthansa Boeing 747-8I might be coming out of the paint hangar sometime this summer.