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 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……