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Photos and Info: Boeing Delivers Their First 747-8 Intercontinental

The first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental to be delivered (A7-HHE) lines up on 16R at Paine Field.

The first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental to be delivered (A7-HHE) lines up on 16R at Paine Field.

Yesterday, Boeing delivered their first 747-8 Intercontinental. Although we know that the customer is the government of Qatar, Boeing was tight-lipped about who the customer might be.

Other than the registration number and information from reliable sources, there has been no official confirmation from either Boeing or the government of Qatar. Boeing stated that they are following the wishes of their customer and not publicly confirming or denying if it is the government of Qatar.

Boeing Executives answer questions about the Boeing 747-8I program before take off.

Boeing Executives answer questions about the Boeing 747-8I program before take off.

Before the delivery flight, Boeing held a press conference to answer questions about the 747-8 program. Present were Bruce Dickinson, VP and Chief Project Engineer, 747-8 Program, Elizabeth Lund, Vice President, 747 Program, Captain Steve Taylor, President of Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) and Jim Proulx, Boeing 747 Communications.

When asked if the Intercontinental might participate in a world tour, like the 787 Dreamliner, Lund explained that they are in discussion about the possibly and would prefer to work with an airline customer, like Lufthansa.

How would you like a bed in the nose of a Boeing 747-8I?

How would you like a bed in the nose of a Boeing 747-8I? Photo showing potential 747-8I BBJ interior from Boeing.

Currently there are nine 747-8 VIPs on order and Taylor stated that it is safe to say that all of them are going to government customers.

One government customer who does not have a 747-8I on order yet is the President of the United States. Lund stated that Boeing has spoken to the president and assured him that Boeing is more than ready to build the next Air Force One.

You have to love the extended upper deck of the 747-8 Intercontinental.

You have to love the extended upper deck of the 747-8 Intercontinental.

The first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental that will go into commercial service with Lufthansa is still going through its final testing phase, which should be completed in the next week. Since the passenger version has things like seats, in-flight entertainment and more, it needs the additional time before being ready for delivery.

Lund stated that Boeing is working to get an official delivery date for the aircraft to Lufthansa and they hope to announce that date in the next few weeks. Previously, they have stated that they hope to deliver the first passenger Intercontinental in March of this year.

This is a mock up of a possible interior of a Boeing Business Jet 747-8I. The one delivered yesterday was empty. Photo by Boeing.

This is a mock up of a possible interior of a Boeing Business Jet 747-8I. The one delivered yesterday was empty. Photo by Boeing.

Near the end of the press conference, BBJ President Steven Taylor had to politely leave, since not only does he oversee the BBJ program, but he is also a pilot, that is rated to fly the 747-8I and he was going to be flying during the delivery flight. How cool is that?

After the press conference, it was time to head to the Future of Flight’s strato deck to wait for the the 747-8I to take off. Luckily it was not raining, but it was windy and very cold. Unfortunately, the aircraft was late taking off, so by the time she taxied out and lined up, my hands were having a hard time taking photos due to frozen fingers.

It was disappointing that we were not able to tour the interior of the aircraft and it was also not parked next to the Future of Flight where we could get better photos from the tarmac. But it is still not a bad thing to gather with aviation media to watch the first 747-8I to be delivered.

And lift off. The Boeing 747-8I heads off to Vancouver.

And lift off. The Boeing 747-8I heads off to Vancouver.

At about 1:01pm, the 747-8I lifted off from Paine Field, with cheers from the Boeing and media folks that gathered to watch.

First, the 747-8I flew to Vancouver for a few hours to complete customs paperwork before heading to Wichita, Kansas to begin its two year interior installation. There, the Aeroloft, which is a sleeping berth in the rear of the aircraft, will be installed before heading to Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg, Germany for the rest of the interior installation.

Once completed in 2014, the aircraft will be able to carry 100 passengers in style, up to 8,840 nautical miles.

CHECK OUT MORE ON THE FIRST BOEING 747-8 INTERCONTINENTAL DELIVERY:
* 29 additional photos of the event
* Check out additional photos (from a different angle) by NYCAviation.com

Who is Taking Delivery of the First Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Tomorrow? It Might Surprise You.

The first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (A7-HHE) sits next to ANA's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner (JA801A) in September 2011. Photo by Jon Ostrower.

The first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (A7-HHE) sits next to ANA's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner (JA801A) in September 2011 at Paine Field. Photo by Jon Ostrower.

Tomorrow, the very first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental will be delivered to its owner, but who is it? There have been many rumors and guesses about the plane’s owner, but nothing has officially been announced. Boeing is not talking and even though the delivery event is scheduled for tomorrow morning, there is no plan to announce the owner tomorrow and that the owner will not be present during the event. We know that the 747-8I is a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) and most rumors have speculated that the aircraft is going to a head of some government.

I have gathered enough information and feel confident in announcing that the owner of the first 747-8 Intercontinental will be Qatar Amiri Flight, which is a VIP airline owned by the government of Qatar. According to Wikipedia, they operate, “worldwide charters on demand and caters exclusively to the royal family of Qatar and other VIP government staff.” Qatar Amiri Flight currently has two 747-8I’s on order.

The delivery event is set to start at about 11:00am PST tomorrow, the 28th and I am told the aircraft should depart by Noon. Make sure to follow me on Twitter and the hashtag #7478VIP as is covered live.

Image: Jon Ostrower aka the Flight Blogger