The End Of A Generation:  Lufthansa’s Last (Maybe?) 747-8i Is Unveiled….

The End Of A Generation: Lufthansa’s Last (Maybe?) 747-8i Is Unveiled….

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!):

 

-sn2KtZI

D-ABYU shortly after being towed out of the Paint Hangar…….Photo courtesy of Woody’s Aero Images

D-ABYU on the day after her completion.  Photo courtesy of the Paine Field Blog.

D-ABYU on the day after her completion. Photo courtesy of the Paine Field Blog.

 

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 RegistrationNicknameDelivered To Lufthansa
D-ABYABrandenburgApril 25, 2012
D-ABYCSachsenJune 30, 2012
D-ABYD
Mecklenburg-VorpommernAugust 24, 2012
D-ABYFSachsen-AnhaltOctober 23, 2012
D-ABYGBaden-WürttembergMarch 12, 2013
D-ABYHThüringenMarch 27, 2013
D-ABYIPotsdam (Fanhansa Livery)May 29, 2013
D-ABYJHannoverJune 25, 2013
D-ABYKRheinland-PfalzAugust 13, 2013
D-ABYLHessenFebruary 6, 2014
D-ABYMBayernFebruary 28, 2014
D-ABYNNiedersachsenMarch 31, 2014
D-ABYPNordrhein-Westfalen (1500th 747)June 25, 2014
D-ABYQSchleswig-HolsteinAugust 29, 2014
D-ABYRBremenJanuary 26, 2015
D-ABYSFebruary 2015 (TBD)
D-ABYTRetro-LiveryMarch 2015 (TBD)
D-ABYUMarch / 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……