Lufthansa gears up for 747-8 launch

6 Dec 2011 by BusinessTraveller

Lufthansa is carrying out pre-delivery testing of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental at its Frankfurt base this week, ahead of entry into service early next year.

The German flag carrier is the launch customer for the passenger version of Boeing’s next-generation jumbo, and is set to unveil a new lie-flat business class on the aircraft, along with its recently-introduced first class product, featuring a separate seat and bed (see online news October 11).

According to Boeing, Lufthansa will conduct “a number of tests to help ensure a smooth integration of the newest member of the 747 family into Lufthansa operations”, with maintenance and engineering personnel rehearsing ground-handling processes, and crew checking how their ground-support equipment accommodates the aircraft.

The test aircraft is scheduled to arrive in Frankfurt later today (Tuesday December 6), and will remain in Germany until the afternoon of December 9. Lufthansa has to announce a specific date for delivery of its first B747-8, but the launch aircraft is currently completing construction at Boeing Everett factory, and is set to enter service in “early 2012”.

Lufthansa has 20 of the B747-8 aicraft on order, with Korean Air and Arik Air having confirmed orders for the jumbo, and Hong Kong Airlines also believed to have placed an order.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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