The aircraft, a fourth-generation Boeing 747 version that was officially announced in 2005, has new design wings, lengthened fuselage, and superior efficiency. The 747-8I is the largest 747 version; the longest passenger aircraft in the world, and the largest commercial aircraft built in the United States. The aircraft is the 1,439th 747 built since 1968.
Captain Steve Taylor, president of Boeing Business Jets, was at the controls for the departure to Vancouver under a private flight plan. The aircraft will then be ferried to Boeing's Global Transport & Executive Systems facility in Wichita, Kansas, for installation of the Greenpoint Technologies Aeroloft cabin.
The Aeroloft will expand the 747-8's cabin area to 444.6sq m (4,786sq ft). Eight berths will be placed in the upper crown area in the aft part of the aircraft's cabin between the empennage and the iconic hump.
Next, the aircraft will travel to Hamburg, Germany for the final touches at Lufthansa Technik. This is the final step in a 24-month conversion process, and the aircraft will then enter into service.
Although Boeing has not identified the VIP customer for its first 747-8I, the aircraft is currently wearing a Qatari A7-HHE registration, and is thought to be for Qatar's Amiri Flight.
So far, Boeing has an order for nine 747-8 VIP aircrafts, and eight of these will be completed in 2012.
The first of 20 747-8s outfitted for Lufthansa, the airline launch customer, will be delivered in March 2012. In 2012, Boeing plans to deliver between 35 and 42 747-8s and 747-8 Freighters, respectively.
Elizabeth Lund, 747-8 vice president and general manager, stated that production for both passenger and freighter variants of the 747-8 will increase to two aircraft per month in the near future.
Video of the 747-8 Intercontinental's First Flight