Premiere of 747-8 to cap big week for Boeing

Feb 11, 2011

It's been a big week for aerospace in the Puget Sound region. The Boeing company turned in its final bid for the air force refueling tanker on Thursday. CEO Jim McNerney took his strongest stance yet for building a 737 successor. And earlier this week, analysts and suppliers heard briefings on the state of the industry at an aerospace convention in Lynnwood

The crowning event will be the premiere this weekend of the latest version of Boeing's iconic 747. Employees, customers, suppliers and special guests will participate in the unveiling of the 747-8 Intercontinental at 11:00 on Sunday morning. The ceremony will be carried live on Boeing's website

A year ago, Boeing's first 747-8 freighter took to the skies over Everett for its maiden flight.  Now the passenger version is ready to debut. 

"The 747 is without a doubt, the most recognizable airplane flying," says Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx.  "Certainly everyone recognizes the long, graceful wing sweep, the long back, but most iconic of course is the hump.  Everybody knows the 747 with that distinctive hump."

And, Proulx says,  this is the best version ever, with promises to fly longer, faster and burn less fuel.

"It'll be 16% more fuel efficient than the 747-400 that it replaces, it'll have legs of 8,000 nautical miles.  It'll be the fastest airplane in current service when it flies."

He says that will happen "in a matter of weeks."  Many of the flight tests have already been carried out on the freighter version. 

Proulx says it's the only airplane that serves the 400-500 seat market, making it a bit smaller than Airbus's A-380, which carries 555 passengers. 

Right now Boeing has orders just for 33 of this newest passenger jet, which the company has dubbed "The Intercontinental."   Lufthansa will take the first delivery, followed by Korean Air.  

Nearly twice as many of the new freighters - a total of 74 - are on order.  

Boeing Simulation of 747-8 Inrtercontinental Flight: