The delivery was announced Wednesday morning, just hours after Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said the jumbo jet delivery would take place today “if everything goes as planned.” McNerney made his comments during a conference call with analysts and journalists about Boeing’s first quarter earnings.
Boeing introduced first the freighter version of the upgraded 747. McNerney noted Wednesday that there are 14 747-8 freighters in service with five companies.
In February, Boeing handed over the first 747-8 passenger plane, also called the Intercontinental, to an undisclosed VIP customer. That aircraft likely went to the government of Qatar. However, it will take two years to install the elaborate interior for the private jet.
Lufthansa will be the first airline to put its 747-8 Intercontinental into passenger service.
“Lufthansa and Boeing have a long and proud history of working together to bring new innovations to the airline industry,” Jim Albaugh, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement. “We are grateful for Lufthansa’s inspiration and leadership in helping us design a new Queen of the Skies for the 21st Century.”
Lufthansa will fly its new jumbo jet home on May 1. Boeing will host a celebration in Everett for senior executives from both companies that day. Lufthansa plans its own celebration back in Frankfurt on May 2.
“After working together for many years, we are very pleased to have the newest generation of four-engine aircraft join our fleet,” Christoph Franz, CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said in a statement.
Boeing estimates the new 747-8 passenger plane, which has new engines and technology derived from the 787, will burn less fuel than its predecessor.
Boeing officials have said they believe the 747-8 Intercontinental will pick up more orders once the jumbo jet enters service. Boeing has won orders for just 36 747-8 passenger planes.