As the adage goes, all good things must come to an end. In the case of Lufthansa, this means that the last 747-8i has been completed and will join the fleet in a few weeks.
‘D-ABYU’ exited the paint shop on February 16 at Paine Field and will take to the skies in the next few days for her B-1, B-2 and C-1 Flights. These flights will serve to test and certify the aircraft before it is handed over to Lufthansa sometime in March or April, depending on results of the tests.
Here are a few shots that have been kindly shared by spotters at Paine Field yesterday (I had left Seattle one day too soon!):
D-ABYU shortly after being towed out of the Paint Hangar…….Photo courtesy of Woody’s Aero Images
D-ABYU is the 19th Lufthansa 747-8i and marks the end of 3 years of 747-8i deliveries to the airline. The 747-8i made her passenger debut with Lufthansa on June 1, 2012 to rave reviews and has been nothing but a favorite of both Lufthansa and their passengers ever since.
For those of you keeping score at home, here is the timeline of Lufthansa’s 747-8i fleet:
|Aircraft Registration||Nickname||Delivered To Lufthansa
|D-ABYA||Brandenburg||April 25, 2012
|D-ABYC||Sachsen||June 30, 2012
|Mecklenburg-Vorpommern||August 24, 2012
|D-ABYF||Sachsen-Anhalt||October 23, 2012
|D-ABYG||Baden-Württemberg||March 12, 2013
|D-ABYH||Thüringen||March 27, 2013
|D-ABYI||Potsdam (Fanhansa Livery)||May 29, 2013
|D-ABYJ||Hannover||June 25, 2013
|D-ABYK||Rheinland-Pfalz||August 13, 2013
|D-ABYL||Hessen||February 6, 2014
|D-ABYM||Bayern||February 28, 2014
|D-ABYN||Niedersachsen||March 31, 2014
|D-ABYP||Nordrhein-Westfalen (1500th 747)||June 25, 2014
|D-ABYQ||Schleswig-Holstein||August 29, 2014
|D-ABYR||Bremen||January 26, 2015
|D-ABYS||February 2015 (TBD)
|D-ABYT||Retro-Livery||March 2015 (TBD)
|D-ABYU||March / April 2015 (TBD)
For enthusiasts, this also marks the beginning of the end of the 4-engine airliner. Over the next 15-20 years, the final 747s and A380s will be phased out leaving us only with 2-engine aircraft to get excited about.
If you’d like to see my 747-8i Gallery where I’ve caught every LH 747-8i except for the elusive D-ABYK, please click here to be taken to Aero-Shots.com, my personal plane spotting archive.
Now there is one minor caveat to all of this……When I was in Seattle last week, I spoke to a few people with Boeing who are familiar with the 747-8i program and brought up the fact that there is another Lufthansa 747-8i that was never finished. D-ABYE (Line/Airframe #1435 in Boeing-Speak) was used by Boeing for certain testing in 2012/13 and at the time of its manufacture, it was turned down by Lufthansa as a deliverable aircraft.
However, during the past weeks, the aircraft that would have been D-ABYE has been seen being put back into the Factory for finishing work. There seems to be 2 strong rumors circling ‘YE’, one is that in fact Lufthansa may actually wind up taking delivery of ‘YE’ while the other rumor suggests that it will be turned into a Boeing Business Jet and sold to a private individual or Sovereign State. This mystery should resolve itself in the not-too-distant future……
Lufthansa will be removing the A380 from their Frankfurt – Houston route for 2 weeks but fret not, it will be replaced by a 747-8i during that time. Could IAH possibly see?:
Preparing for taxi test
The exact dates of the swap is scheduled to take place from March 29 to April 8 according to Lufthansa.com’s booking engine. I’ll provide an additional update should this schedule change.
The swap is taking place because of the Premium Economy & New Business Class retrofit schedule for the A380.
Over the next month, Lufthansa will take delivery of their final 3 747-8i aircraft. When all is said and told, 19 ‘Queens of the Sky’ will be in the fleet for what should be 15-20 years. It also marks the beginning of the end of new 4-engine aircraft for Lufthansa (there are also 2 A380s set to still join the fleet).
The first 747-8i joined the fleet in 2012 and had her inaugural flight on June 1, 2012. I was fortunate to be in Frankfurt for the festivities surrounding the first 747-8i to join the fleet and now look back and see how quickly time has ‘flown’ by. Pun probably intended.
With ‘YS’ ready for delivery, it leaves D-ABYT and D-ABYU as the final 2 747-8ii that will join the fleet. ‘YT’ is the much-anticipated ‘Retro Jet’ who will sport the livery that was on Lufthansa aircraft in the 1980s. ‘YU’ should have her paint work completed this weekend and I’ll be able to bring you a few images of her as the last 747-8i that is scheduled to join the fleet.
Here is a look at the Retro Livery. She’s parked over a mile away and unfortunately a SCOOT 787 is in the way……
For now, here are several shots I took at Paine Field as ‘YS’ was put through the motions during a ‘B2’ test flight. Typically new aircraft go through three test flights: B1, B2, C1. The ‘B’ flights are conducted by Boeing pilots who troubleshoot and certify the aircraft. The C flight is conducted by the ‘Customer’ and typical involves the Airline’s pilots and technicians. Once A ‘C’ flight is completed, it is ready for delivery to the airline.
By the way, if you missed yesterday’s posted regarding LH Cargo’s last 777F delivery, click here!
Entering the taxiway towards runway 16R
Returning from B2 Flight
Over the numbers…..
Thanks to @MattCawby & his Paine Field Blog for capturing a glimpse of D-ABYT. Lufthansa’s latest 747-8i sports a retro-livery reminding us of the days of the 747-200s. If I were you, I would follow Matt on twitter – he is the best at bringing the first photos of aircraft as they exit the Boeing factory!
The plane exited the paint hangar earlier this week and is set to take her maiden flights in a few days. Which coincidentally is when I will be there because of Lufthansa’s Cargo 777F delivery.
Here are few photos courtesy of Lufthansa:
Lufthansa has announced an additional delay to the deployment of the A380 to Seoul, South Korea and the 747-8i to Boston.
In the latest update, it now appears that the A380 will begin to fly between Frankfurt and Seoul on May 14. The 747-8i is now set to appear on May 15 for flights between Frankfurt and Boston (LH422/LH423).
Tentatively, there is also a one time 747-8i flight between Frankfurt and Boston on May 8 (LH422/423).