Lufthansa was the first airline to fly the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and now has 16 of the type in service. Over the history of the airline and the 747 program, Lufthansa has been a very good customer. They have operated the 747-100, 200, & 400 (with a good portion of those 747-400s still flying).
The airline, as a whole, has been around since 1926 (in some form or another), during which time they have been through a number of liveries. What better way for an airline to receive their latest aircraft than to paint it in an retro livery?
Lufthansa 747-8I’s have been a consistent sight throughout the world — flying in and out of their Frankfurt hub. As Boeing produces the aircraft (at a mind-numbingly slow rate of 1.5 per month, to be further reduced to 1.1 later this year), the majority of these new Queens of the Sky have been for this German airline. But they all have been in their latest “Eurowhite” livery. Some people believe that the Eurowhite can be quite boring, however I do like the livery on the 747-8I. It still pays homage to some of the original elements of the livery from the airline’s early days in the 1920s.
The earliest days of Lufthansa (seen before the airline was officially formed) saw the airline with a boring old grey paint scheme. But that was in the days before airline liveries really even existed. What it did have was the Lufthansa logo, which was a stylized crane in flight. That logo has stuck with the airline and over time has been modernized as well. When the 747 was introduced in 1970 it wore the livery that Lufthansa took into the Jet Age. That livery, however, could not fully come back to life on newer aircraft.
As you can see the new 747-8I livery is slightly different. Unfortunately, there will not be a bare metal belly on this aircraft, painted in a slightly less-shiny grey. So think of this retro as a more “tribute” than a true re-creation. Sadly, with the introduction of composite materials into the building process, aircraft just can’t have a bare metal finish; one of the reasons American Airlines ultimately changed their livery. So the grey is about as close as we can get.
This retro livery is not the airline’s first. The first Lufthansa Retrojet was painted in 2005 to celebrate the airline’s 50th year of operation (post-war). That livery was painted on an Airbus A321; the original bearer (D-AIRX) has since been repainted back to the standard livery. Fret not, fellow AvGeeks, as Lufthansa kept the livery going and is still flying another A321 (D-AIDV) in that same 50th Anniversary Livery.
With Lufthansa coming into their 60th year of “Post-War” operations this year, it was obvious something was going to be done to celebrate. Thankfully, Lufthansa took it upon themselves to create the world’s largest retro livery aircraft. Who are we to fault them?