Lufthansa’s 14th Boeing 747-8 has landed in Frankfurt, becoming the 76th jumbo the airline has received from the American manufacturer since the 1970s and a veritable milestone in aviation history.
This aircraft, whose tail number is D-ABYP (‘Yankee Papa’), is the 1,500th jumbo built in the world.
“It’s an honour for Lufthansa that the anniversary jumbo will fly in the colours of the Lufthansa crane,” said Nico Buchholz, head of group fleet management at Deutsche Lufthansa.
“For decades, Lufthansa has been one of the aircraft manufacturer’s closest advisers – a pioneer when it comes to developing new, environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft,” added Buchholz at the handover in Seattle.
Lufthansa is expecting to receive a total of 19 aircraft of this type, and will therefore be the world’s largest operator of 747-8s among passenger airlines.
The “Dash 8”, as it is also known, has plenty to offer.
By using the latest jumbo, Lufthansa is taking a further step towards having a “three-liter fleet” (per passenger and 100 kilometres).
The aircraft is 15 per cent more fuel-efficient than its predecessor model and, as a result, its CO2 emissions are around 15 per cent lower.
The noise footprint of the B747-8 is 30 per cent smaller compared with the older Boeing 747-400.
What started as the first training flight with the new Boeing 747 over the mountains east of Seattle in October 1969, went on to become an icon of the Lufthansa fleet, and indeed, of commercial aviation as a whole.
On March 9th, 1970, the then Lufthansa chief executive Herbert Culmann took delivery of the first Lufthansa Boeing 747-130 in front of the factory in Everett.
The aircraft’s production number was 12 and its Lufthansa registration was D-ABYA.
Lufthansa thereby became the second international airline, after PanAm, and the first European carrier to deploy the jumbo on scheduled services.
The aircraft was host to several major world premières in succession, including the first film shown on board a jumbo jet.
Only twenty months after the maiden flight of the Boeing 747-130, the fourth Lufthansa jumbo took off on April 2nd, 1971 as a modified model.
Boeing had equipped the 747-200 with larger fuel tanks and a higher take-off weight of 378 tons.
This meant that the aircraft had a longer range.
Originally intended as a military aircraft, the jumbo’s career was not limited to carrying passengers.
On April 10th, 1972, Lufthansa received the world’s first “smiling” Boeing as the launch customer of the cargo version, the Boeing 747-230F.
The nose of the aircraft could be opened horizontally, making it possible to load even bulk goods without any problem.
On April 19th, 1972, the world’s first cargo jumbo took off, bearing the tail number D-ABYE.
This quickly catapulted Lufthansa to number one in airfreight transport.