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2014: 228,152
2013: 330,818

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Boeing Celebrates the 1,500th 747 – Is the Jumbo Jet Still Viable?

The 1500th Boeing 747 sitting on the flight line at Paine Field

The 1,500th Boeing 747 (70th 747-8) sitting on the flight line at Paine Field

The 747 Jumbo Jet is an iconic aircraft. For years, it was the only double-deck commercial airliner and for many it is a favorite. From its first flight in 1969, the 747 has changed quite a bit. The newest iteration, the 747-8, might sport a similar shape to the original 747 or the 747-400, but it is quite a different beast (more than just LED lighting). This past weekend, the 1,500th 747 was delivered to Lufthansa Airlines. About a week earlier, Boeing took the opportunity to talk about their largest commercial airliner and its future relevance.

LN1500 lining up for take off. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

LN1500 lining up for take off – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

I was invited to Boeing’s factory in Everett to sit down with Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of the 747 program, and we had a down-to-earth conversation about where the 747 has been, where it is today, and where Boeing is hoping it is going.

The big message that Lindblad wanted to get across is, “this is not your mother’s 747.” Not only is the 747-8I a very different aircraft than the 747-400, but the 70th 747-8 is much more efficient than the first one, and they plan to keep making it more efficient.

Continue reading Boeing Celebrates the 1,500th 747 – Is the Jumbo Jet Still Viable?

Lufthansa Schools Us on How to Make A Better Inflight Meal

It is not very often that you see one of these parked on a street corner in Lower Manhattan.

It is not very often that you see one of these parked on a street corner in Lower Manhattan

Let’s face it, airline food doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation. For many people, it is thought of as bland, mushy, overcooked, or any one of a plethora of other unappetizing adjectives. Those who actually look forward to airline food are few and far between. While I have personally had some delicious food onboard (I’m looking at you, JetBlue and Virgin America), I have also been served things that rank highly on my list of the worst things I have ever eaten.

When it comes to long-haul flying on international airlines, your prospects for getting a quality meal may improve. Airlines such as Lufthansa consider themselves among the premier airlines in the world, and realize that providing a tasty and nutritious meal is an essential part of the passenger experience.

Recently, I had the chance to meet with a team from Lufthansa and its subsidiary LSG Sky Chefs in New York City to learn about what factors go into making a great onboard meal.

Continue reading Lufthansa Schools Us on How to Make A Better Inflight Meal

Images: Lufthansa Splits Large Longhaul Order Between 777-9X & A350

Composite image of a Lufthansa Boeing 777-9X. Image via Lufthansa

Composite image of a Lufthansa Boeing 777-9X – Image: Lufthansa

Today, Lufthansa Airlines announced a major long-haul order split between the Airbus A350-900 and the Boeing 777-9X. The airline stated it would be adding at least 24 777-9X and 25 of the Airbus A350-900 to their fleet starting as early as 2016. The order is worth about $19 billion USD at list prices, although it is very likely that the airline received a substantial discount from both manufacturers.

Of course, the most interesting part of this order is the fact that Boeing has not officially launched the 777-9X.

Continue reading Images: Lufthansa Splits Large Longhaul Order Between 777-9X & A350

Lufthansa Cargo Boeing Freighter Order Causes an AvGeek’s Confusion

A Rendition of what a Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 777F will look like - Photo: Lufthansa Cargo

A Rendition of what a Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 777F will look like – Photo: Lufthansa Cargo

Two years ago an interesting order was placed with Boeing. One that might have slipped under the radar for most.  This order didn’t really make all too many waves in the AvGeek world and to be honest, I didn’t even realize it myself till I was tipped off by a fellow AvGeek.

In March 2011 Lufthansa Cargo put in an order for five 777 freighters and this spurred a large amount of curiosity since it did not seem like the ideal choice to replace their aging fleet of 18 classic MD-11 aircraft.

Continue reading Lufthansa Cargo Boeing Freighter Order Causes an AvGeek’s Confusion

Catching a Lufthansa Airbus A321′s Rapid Descent Live

Image from PlaneFinder.net via NYCAviation.com.

Image from PlaneFinder.net via NYCAviation.com.

Watching airline activity live via social media can have interesting consequences. Last week, I happened to see the #7700 tweet [which are tweets that are auto generated that go out any time an aircraft in coverage squawks 7700] from Planefinder.net as soon as it was posted and went to check out what was happening. Normally when you catch these emergencies, not much happens immediately, and the aircraft either continues on to its destination, or diverts to another airport.

This time I noticed that the aircraft immediately entered a very rapid descent [see an image of normal descent]. In my experience, something like that is usually caused by a loss of cabin pressure, where the pilots level off at 10,000 feet to asses the situation. However, this aircraft passed 10,000 and continued to rapidly descent, which was worrying. Was this a huge emergency, website error or just standard procedure for some issue on the flight?

Continue reading Catching a Lufthansa Airbus A321′s Rapid Descent Live