The End Of An Era:  Lufthansa Takes Delivery Of Their Last 747

The End Of An Era: Lufthansa Takes Delivery Of Their Last 747

Later this week, on April 30, Lufthansa will take delivery of their last-ever 747 aircraft.    When D-ABYU takes off for her home in Frankfurt on April 30th, it will mark the 80th 747 that will have served for Lufthansa over the past 45 years.  ‘Yankee Uniform’ will also be the 19th 747-8i that has joined the fleet since June 2012.

 

The first ever 747 joined the Lufthansa fleet on March 9, 1970

The first ever 747 joined the Lufthansa fleet on March 9, 1970.   (Courtesy: Lufthansa)

 

I was there when the first 747-8i was unveiled in Frankfurt on June 1, 2012 and I’ve been on a delivery flight of an -8i when D-ABYT (The Retro Livery) was delivered this March.   I’ve even been on a flight between Frankfurt and Washington DC where I was the only passenger in First Class.    I’ve also managed to personally capture every one of Lufthansa’s 747-8i aircraft on ‘film’.    Suffice to say I think I may have a 747-8i ‘problem’.

Aside from these experiences,  I’ve flown aboard the 747-8i many times over the past 3 years and it has become my favorite aircraft by a wide margin.  I’m not even sure if I have a second favorite aircraft.

It’s safe to say that I’ve grown attached to this model and I’m genuinely saddened by the fact that ‘YU’ marks the end of a tradition of new 4-engined Jumbo Jets in the LH fleet.

D-ABYU shows her Vortices when arriving in Paine Field after a test flight.

D-ABYU shows her Vortices when arriving in Paine Field after a test flight.

 

Lufthansa_LH_747-8i_D-ABYU_2_Frankfurt_FRA

Over the numbers…..

Lufthansa_LH_747-8i_D-ABYU_3_Frankfurt_FRA

 

Yes, we can look forward to the 777s and A350s joining the fleet in a few years but it simply won’t be the same as watching the ‘Queen of the Skies’ over the last several years.  Fortunately, the 747-8i aircraft are scheduled to be in the fleet for at least the next 15-20 years so us ‘avgeeks’ can still enjoy these birds for another couple of decades.

 

Lufthansa_LH_B747-8i_D-ABYU_Paine_PAE

D-ABYU departing on her B1 test flight

 


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……