Computer mock up of what Arik Air's first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental will look like. Photo from Boeing. Click for much larger.
Let’s all welcome Arik Air to the exclusive “We Have a Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental on Order” club. The Nigerian-based airline announced earlier in the week that they have placed orders for two of the new 747-8I aircraft.
“Air travel within the region continues to grow at a rapid pace and we must prepare our fleet to accommodate that growth,” said Sir JIA Arumemi-Johnson, owner and chairman of Arik Air. “Boeing’s new 747-8 fits perfectly into our long-term planning… As we look into the future, the 747-8 Intercontinental is a must have for Arik Air.”
Arik is using their larger A340-500s on routes to London and New York. It is likely that the airline is looking to increase capacity to the US and Europe and possibly enter into China.
Sometimes a livery will look good on a smaller aircraft, but when scaled up, it loses its beauty. Luckily for Arik, they have a livery that works on the smaller CRJ-900 to the much larger 747-8I. Once they take delivery of their first 747-8I, I pretty sure this will be the largest aircraft in the world that will sport the color pink (not fully sure, can you prove me wrong?).
There are currently four airlines that have announced orders for the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental: Lufthansa, Korean Air, Air China and Arik Air. There are an additional nine private Boeing Business Jet 747-8I’s on order as well.
Computer drawing of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental from Boeing.com
On May 8th, Boeing announced they have started the construction of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (747-8I). What the heck is the Intercontinental? It is the passenger version of the Boeing 747-8 Freighter (747-8F) that took flight back in February.
Lufthansa already has 20 orders with 20 additional options. “We are very pleased to see that the production on the 747-8 Intercontinental has begun,” said Nico Buchholz, senior vice president, Corporate Fleet of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “We are looking forward to welcoming the aircraft in our fleet as it is a component of Lufthansa’s strategy to modernize its fleet and increase environmental stewardship. The 747-8 shows our clear commitment to customer orientation.”
The Boeing 747-8I is 18.3 feet longer than the Boeing 747-400 and can hold 51 more passengers in a three-class configuration. Visually you will be able to tell the new aircraft by the swept wings and larger upper-deck. The new version will have the next generation GEnx-2B engines and a wing design like the Boeing 747-8F, which will make the aircraft more fuel efficient. The Boeing 747-8I will incorporate some of the cool features of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Boeing is hoping the 747-8I will take flight by the end of the year and then deliver by late 2011.
Currently Boeing has 32 orders for the Boeing 747-8I and 76 for the Boeing 747-8F.