Deutsche Lufthansa AG, a launch customer of the 747-8 Intercontinental (747-8I), received its first 747-8I on April 25, 2012. On 4th May 2012, the airline announced that it will operate the 747-8I on its long-haul markets where demand is weak for economy class seats.
The 747-8I fits into Lufthansa’s fleet beneath the Airbus A380 – it offers about 160 fewer economy seats, but a similar level of premium capacity.
Lufthansa’s 747-8I will get into service on 1 June, serving the Frankfurt - Washington Dulles route. This route is currently being served by a 747-400, which will be replaced by the 747-8I.
During the course of the year, Lufthansa will upgrade several routes that are currently being served by 747-400, to 747-8Is. These routes include Frankfurt to Chicago and Los Angeles in the USA and New Delhi and Bangalore in India.
Carsten Spohr, chief executive of Lufthansa, said,
We believe the 747-8 is a nice fit between the Airbus A340-600 and the A380." Spohr added, "The 747-8 and the A380 both offer 100 premium seats. But we have  more economy seats on the A380. So we use the 747-8 into premium markets where the economy demand is somewhat limited - for example Washington DC and Chicago.
In addition to the first 747-8I that was recently delivered, Lufthansa has 19 747-8Is on order. The airline will receive five of these in 2012, and the rest will be delivered over the next three years at five aircraft per year.