Boeing has delivered its 1,500th B747 jumbo jet to Lufthansa.
The new B747-8 is the 76th jumbo that the German carrier has received from the aircraft manufacturer since the 1970s.
Lufthansa is due to receive a further five aircraft of this type, boosting its fleet to a total of 19 B747-8s.
Nico Buchholz, head of group fleet management at Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said at a handover ceremony in Seattle: "It's an honour for Lufthansa that the anniversary jumbo will fly in the colours of the Lufthansa crane.
"For decades, Lufthansa has been one of the aircraft manufacturer's closest advisers — a pioneer when it comes to developing new, environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft."
The German flag carrier is one of the few airlines still using the B747 as a passenger aircraft. Most other operators have gradually retired the older B747-400 model from their fleet, or use it solely for freight transport. Demand for the newer B747-8 has been moderate.
Speaking to our sister title Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, a Lufthansa spokesperson revealed that the reason for the airline's continued support of this aircraft type was to fill the capacity gap between its Airbus A380 and the A330/A340.
He said: "This aircraft [complements] capacity and operational costs. We operate them on routes where the A380 is too big or our Airbus A330/340 is too small."
The "Dash 8", as it is also known, is an improved rendition of the older B747-400. The aircraft is 15 per cent more fuel-efficient than its predecessor and as a result emits 15 per cent lower carbon dioxide. The noise footprint is also 30 per cent smaller when compared to the B747-400.
Lufthansa's B747-8 fleet will be the first to offer the new premium economy seats, unveiled in March (see news, March 5) and which will be available at the end of the year.
The carrier currently uses the jumbo to serve flights to Buenos Aires, Chicago, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Beijing and Washington DC.