Boeing, the world’s second-largest plane-maker, celebrated a major achievement in the effort to create a Queen of the Skies for the 21st Century, delivering the first 747-8 Intercontinental VIP airplane to an undisclosed customer, thought by industry insiders to be the state of Qatar. The VIP airplane, which was delivered with a minimal interior, will enter service in 2014 after its VIP interior is installed.
“The 747 is the most iconic airplane in the world, and I know customers are going to love what we’ve done to enhance its performance. The Intercontinental is fast, efficient and quiet, offering real savings and a great flying experience. And I
believe it’s one of the most beautiful airplanes in the sky.” Jim Albaugh, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement.
The Intercontinental is an elongated, upgraded version of the classic 747, which first flew more than 40 years ago. The 747 was the world’s largest airplane until 2005, when Airbus unveiled its A380. Only one A380 has been ordered by a wealthy individual, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
The VIP version of the 747-8 Intercontinental provides a cabin with 444.6 square meters. This 747-8 VIP will include Greenpoint Technologies’ Aeroloft, located above the main cabin between the upper deck and tail of the 747-8 VIP, giving the airplane 393 square feet (36.5 square meters) of additional cabin space.
With Aeroloft, the VIP-configured 747-8 offers a total of 481.1 square meters of cabin space, can carry 100 passengers and has a range of about 8,840 nautical miles (16,372 km). It provides double-digit improvements in fuel burn and emissions over the 747-400, and is 30 percent more quiet. With a normal cruise speed of Mach 0.86, it is the fastest large commercial jet.
The 747-8 VIP jet is the only large airplane in its class that fits today’s airport infrastructure, giving its owners the flexibility to fly to more destinations. Building on the current 747’s capability to fly into most airports worldwide, the 747-8 VIP uses the same pilot type ratings, services and most ground support equipment. To date, undisclosed customers have ordered nine 747-8 VIP airplanes.