Boeing is celebrating a milestone in air travel today, having delivered the first 747-8 Intercontinental VIP airplane to an undisclosed customer. The aircraft is the first 747-8I to be delivered. It has a minimal interior and will enter service in 2014 after its VIP interior is installed.
The 747-8 Intercontinental, with its longer upper deck, new engine technology and aerodynamic modifications allowing for longer flights, has been in development for years. The first order was placed by an undisclosed VIP customer in May 2006, and Lufthansa was the first airline to order the 747-8I in December 2006. Major assembly began in May 2010, completed in February 2011. The first test flight occurred on 20 March 2011.
The VIP version has a total of 481.1 sq m of cabin space and has a range of about 8,840 nautical miles (16,372 km). According to Boeing, it provides double-digit improvements in fuel burn and emissions over the 747-400, and is 30% quieter. With a normal cruise speed of Mach 0.86, it is the fastest large commercial jet. To date, undisclosed customers have ordered nine 747-8 VIP planes.
[photo courtesy Boeing Dreamscape]