Yesterday Boeing rolled out the first completed airframe of the 747-8 Intercontinental, a stretched and updated variant of the original jumbo jet.
With a “vibrant and dynamic” orange-red livery that customers in its all-important Asian markets associate with prosperity and success, Boeing rolled out the 747-8 Intercontinental passenger jet Sunday in a celebration attended by 10,000 employees and guests.
“This is a new airplane and we wanted a new livery,” Boeing Vice President and airplane production chief Pat Shanahan said as a curtain dropped revealing the 467-passenger jet. “We wanted to be seen as vibrant and dynamic.”
Although it is the third generation of what is probably the world’s most recognized jet, the 747-8 is the first time the four-engine aircraft has been stretched. It is now 250 ft. 2-in. long, – 18 ft. more than the 747 “classics” or 747-400, and carries 51 more passengers in a nominal three-class seating. Flight testing is expected to start in late March with FAA certification and first delivery in the fourth quarter.
For more than a decade, Boeing promoted various upgrades to the hugely successful 747-400 but made little headway with the business case until it could offer them with the 67,000 lb. thrust General Electric GEnx-2B67 engines, derived from engines developed for the 787. They are hung from a new 224-ft. 7 in. super-critical wing that includes new flaps, and fly-by-wire spoilers and ailerons. The aircraft also incorporates a larger empennage, new avionics and a 787-inspired interior.
That combination forms the backbone for Boeing’s claim that when it enters service early next year with Lufthansa German Airlines, the 747-8 will offer 16% better fuel economy than the -400 and a 12% advantage of seat-mile costs.