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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.

A Nice Little Wrap Up to the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental’s First Flight

The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental during it's first flight yesterday. Photo by Boeing - click for larger.

The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental during it's first flight yesterday. Photo by Boeing - click for larger.

Over the past few months, there has been a lot of attention around the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. I wanted to wrap it all up with a conclusion of the first flight and links to all the interesting events since the start of assembling the first 747-8I in May 2010.

Yesterday, the 747-8I took off for the first time just before 10am from Paine Field with chief 747-8 test pilot Captain Mark Feuerstein at the controls and Captain Paul Stemer to his side. During the flight, the airplane reached about 19,000 feet and flew up to 250kts (288mph). After almost four and a half hours, the 747-8I successfully landed at Boeing Field to a cheering crowd.

Once landed, the plane taxied and waited for all the media to move to a white tent before being towed up closer. Stairs were brought out and the two smiling pilots were greeted by their families and Boeing executives.

“What a great privilege to be at the controls of such a great airplane on its first flight,” said Feuerstein. “And what an honor to share this day with the thousands of men and women who designed and built this airplane.”

While parked right outside the media tent, the blue initials “JFS” became quite noticeable. These initials are for Joe Frederick Sutter who is considered by many to be the father of the original Boeing 747 program. He was present for the event and today is actually celebrating his 90th birthday (Happy Birthday Joe!).

There will be two Boeing 747-8I’s completing 600 test hours before being certified for delivery. Boeing is expecting to deliver their first Boeing 747-8 Freighter by the end of the summer and the first Intercontinental by the end of 2011.

The excitement of the first flights for the 787 Dreamliner, 747-8 Freighter and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental is now completed. Now we wait for the first deliveries and watch closely as Bombardier works on their new C-series and Airbus completes the A350. In this business, the excitement never seems to end!

A look back at my blogs on the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (dates are when the stories were posted):
* May 11, 2010: Boeing starts the assembly of the first 747-8 Intercontinental
* June 15, 2010: The assembly of the fuselage begins
* October 21, 2010: Video of the 747-8I being put together
* November 1, 2010: Video of the 747-8I being moved to final assembly position
* January 16, 2011: First simulated flight for the Intercontinental
* February 02, 2011: She is seen outside without paint for the first
* February 12, 2011: The 747-8I gets all wrapped up to hide the livery and media gets to see the first Lufthansa 747-8
* February 13, 2011: Video and photos/write up for the 747-8 unveiling
* February 23, 2011: Photo of the Intercontinental in the snow
* March 14th, 2011: Interior tour of the Boeing 747-8I
* March 20th, 2011: Photos and video of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental’s first flight and first landing