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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

PHOTOS: State of Kuwait Boeing BBJ 747-8 and Others at Paine Field

The government of Kuwait will take delivery of this BBJ 7478.

The government of Kuwait will take delivery of this BBJ 7478.

This  Saturday was a nice enough day to head up to Paine Field to check out what was going on. I heard that the State of Kuwait’s BBJ 7478 would be high-speed ground testing and I also wanted to track down American Airlines first 777-300ER — I wasn’t disappointed.

The livery for the State of Kuwait aircraft is very similar to Kuwait Airway's design.

The livery for the State of Kuwait aircraft is very similar to Kuwait Airway’s design.

The State of Kuwait’s BBJ 7478 used to have a different look — it was the first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental that sported the orange sunrise livery (N6067E) and was recently re-painted.

The first BBJ 7478 was delivered to the government of Qatar in February 2012, even though Boeing and the Qatari government still has not confirmed that to date.

It is bit more obvious what customer will take delivery of 9K-GAA. Even though the government of Kuwait is willing to put their livery on the aircraft before delivery, they aren’t quite ready to give details on how their aircraft will be configured.

American Airline's first Boeing 777-300ER will have a special livery.

American Airline’s first Boeing 777-300ER will have a special livery.

Paine Field has quite a few Boeing aircraft sitting outside at any given time. The planes might be large, but it can be a challenge to track a particular aircraft down and Boeing does not go out of their way to park aircraft to make them easy to spot.

After some time I was able to track down American Airline’s first 777-300ER. What makes this aircraft special is it is painted gray. American is known for having a bare metal livery and is this just a special livery to celebrate the aircraft type or will this be the airline’s new livery? (stay tuned, I am working to find out more about this).

LOT's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner is looking good.

LOT’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner is looking good.

There are plenty of 787′s sitting around waiting for different parts before delivery, but LOT’s Dreamliner is getting closer to delivery, which is expected soon. The new livery is simplistic, but it works and looks better in person than it does in photos.

BONUS: See an interior mock-up of LOT’s Dreamliner

A special Beijing livery on an Air China Boeing 777-300ER (B-2035).

A special Beijing livery on an Air China Boeing 777-300ER (B-2035). You can see the State of Kuwait BBJ 7478.

A last treat before heading back home was seeing this special Beijing livery for an Air China Boeing 777-300ER.

There were a few other odds and ends you can take a look at my Flickr profile. I have to say that I love living in Seattle.

Photos: First Aeroloft Installed on a Boeing 747-8I Business Jet

Private berth in the Aeroloft, located above the 747-8I's main cabin. Image from Boeing.

Private berth in the Aeroloft, located above the 747-8I’s main cabin. Image from Boeing.

If you were a fare-paying passenger and had access to sleeping berths like this, you would be elite. But in a Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Boeing Business Jet, this is where the “help” sleeps.

Today, Boeing celebrated the first Aeroloft to be installed on an aircraft. The additional space, located above the main cabin, behind the upper deck, provides an extra 383 square feet of additional space. That brings the total cabin space to 5,179 square feet. Yea… that is almost 5200 square feet… in a plane.

The Aerolof has eight private beds and a changing area for crew.

If the crew get resting areas this awesome, can't wait to see where the VIPs get to sleep. Image from Boeing.

If the crew get resting areas this awesome, can’t wait to see where the VIPs get to sleep. Image from Boeing.

Installation took place in Wichita, Kansas and now the 747-8I is heading to Hamburg, Germany to have the rest of its interior installed by Lufthansa Technik.

Boeing is still sticking to this aircraft is going to an, “undisclosed customer,” but it has been well established that this plane will go to the government of Qatar.Currently, Boeing has nine orders for the 747-8I BBJ for heads of states. Time to get into politics.

MORE ON TE BOEING 747-8 Intercontinental:
* Qatar 747-8I BBJ Delivery Ceremony
* Inaugural flight of Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8I
* Tracking down the 747-8I’s owner
* Video from the 747-8I’s first flight

24 Hours in Frankfurt: Hanging with the Airport and Lufthansa

Landing in Frankfurt on a Lufthansa Airbus A330.

Landing in Frankfurt on a Lufthansa Airbus A330.

What does an AvGeek do with only 24 hours in Frankfurt with some great aviation connections? It is all still a blur, but I think I can remember most of it.

I have now been to Frankfurt twice; yet I have spent less than 50 hours total there. My first trip was to take the inaugural Lufthansa Airbus A380 flight from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to Miami (MIA) and more recently, I was invited to go back for the inaugural Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental flight.

First of all, the non-stop Lufthansa flight from Seattle to Frankfurt is a challenge. It leaves at around 1pm PST and then arrives at midnight PST, which is 8am local time in Germany. This means, I need to get sleep during the flight or I go a whole day without any. It was unfortunate that I was only able to get two hours of sleep on the flight over — mostly from being excited about the trip.

The Frankfurt Airport as seen from the Sheraton Hotel.

The Frankfurt Airport as seen from the Sheraton Hotel.

After landing and having some issues with my bag (took 45minutes to get, but at least I got it), I was off to find the Sheraton at the airport. Once arriving at the hotel a bit after 9am, I had about an hour to get showered and changed before starting an airport tour that Chris Sloan, with Airchive.com, nicely set up for us.

On the tarmac -- a place I always love to be at.

On the tarmac -- a place I always love to be at.

Chris and I met up with Robert Payne and Roy Watson who are not only both spokesmen for the airport, but also all around awesome guys. Much like the rest of the trip, we had a whirlwind tour, since we only had two hours, but it was well worth it.

We quickly took a look at the airport’s classic, yet still impressive baggage system before heading out to the tarmac. If you ever need an adrenalin shot to counter lack of sleep, a trip to an airport tarmac is always a nice cure.

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 and Lufthansa Boeing 747-400.

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 and Lufthansa Boeing 747-400.

We were able to stop and get out of our vehicle and take photos. at multiple locations. For such a short period on the tarmac, we caught some great stuff including a Kuwait Airways Airbus A300, an ANA Boeing 787 Dreamliner and being able to walk around a Lufthansa Boeing 747-400.

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 from above.

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 from above.

Getting off the tarmac for a few minutes, we took a tour of one of the tarmac towers that guides airliners around the gates. It provided amazing views.

By noon, we were back at the hotel to meet with our media group, who was led by Martin Riecken, Director Corporate Communications The Americas, Lufthansa Airlines. Events like these are a home coming for aviation journalists.  You can imagine there is always non-stop, great conversation going on with a group of folks who write on aviation and travel.

The Technik hangar was set up for a show!

The Technik hangar was set up for a show!

After meeting up in the hotel lobby, we loaded onto a bus and were taken to Lufthansa Technik Hangar 7, which was very different from last time I saw it. Instead of the vast open spaces that a normal maintenance hangar might have, it was set up for a party. With a bunch of tables, a large stage and a curtain made of up thousands of LEDs, which I assumed was hiding the 747-8I (spoiler: it was).

There was a Boeing 747-8I, an Airbus A380 and different things set up to teach us about Lufthansa.

There was a Boeing 747-8I, an Airbus A380 and different things set up to teach us about Lufthansa.

Some speeches were given and some videos were shown before the curtain was raised not only to unveil the Intercontinental, but also different stations where we would be able to learn about different aspects of Lufthansa, the 747-8I interior and the future. For a little bit of fun, there was also a Lufthansa Airbus A380 in the background as well.

The antennae that provides Wi-Fi on airliners is much larger than I thought it would be.

The antennae that provides Wi-Fi on airliners is much larger than I thought it would be.

After our hangar and aircraft tour, it was time to head back to the hotel. I had a two and a half hour break before we would head out to dinner and the big question was: to nap or not to nap? Well, at this point I had been awake about 24 hours and I decided to go for the nap.

Waking up was a bit difficult, but I was excited to get to downtown Frankfurt. You know, when I visit a foreign land, it is nice to try to get out of the airport at least once — but I am old fashion in that way.

Meat, meat and uh... oh yea, more meat.

Meat, meat and uh... oh yea, more meat.

Our media group went to dinner at Apfelweinwirtschaft Wagner, where I got to have my first apple wine. It tasted like apple cider, without the bubbles and hefferveisen — it might be a bit of an acquired taste. I was hungry, but no worries. A platter with a farm-load of animals on it was delivered to our table. Probably not the best call for any vegetarians out there, but it worked great for us.

After dinner, some of us took a walk down the street to take a look at downtown Frankfurt.

After dinner, some of us took a walk down the street to take a look at downtown Frankfurt.

After dinner and a short walk down the street, it was about 9:30pm. Two choices were given: go back to the hotel or check out Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal at the airport. Again, the adrenalin rush of checking out the impressive lounge kept me nicely awake and I kept on rocking.

The bar inside the Lufthansa First Class Terminal.

The bar inside the Lufthansa First Class Terminal.

When I finally returned to my hotel room after 11pm, I was more than ready to get some sleep. It wasn’t easy getting a good night’s rest with the excitement of my flight the next day, but it didn’t make getting up at 6am easy.  We all met in the lobby at 7:45am and made our way to the lounge at the gate.

About 24 hours later, I was boarding the 747-8I to head back to the US.

About 24 hours later, I was boarding the 747-8I to head back to the US.

Then we boarded the 747-8I and off I was heading back home. My second 24 hours in Frankfurt trip I have done and it was great, but next, I hope to hang out a bit more and get to know Frankfurt.

More Connected to 4 Hours in Frankfurt
* 52 Photos from the day
* Flying on the Inaugural Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Flight With Lufthansa
Lufthansa Airlines Takes Delivery of Their First Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental