Boeing nears 747-8 delivery to Lufthansa

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With an estimated five to seven days of flight testing remaining, Boeing is nearing completion of final certification tests on the company's first all-new 747 passenger aircraft in more than 23 years.

747-8 airline launch customer Lufthansa is expected to take delivery of the first of 20 aircraft in the "near future" said 747 vice-president and general manager, Elizabeth Lund, though the handover date has yet to be finalised.

After the remaining days of testing "all of the certification activity will be wrapped up on that aircraft, and then it will be paperwork-finalising activity from that point forward," said Lund.

Additional tests were required separately from the VIP configured 747-8, which was delivered to an unidentified customer on 27 February, including the airline seating configurations, in-flight entertainment, galleys and the cabin systems and networks.

The 747-8 was awarded EASA and FAA amended type certifications on 14 December 2011.

"I believe they're ready to take the airplane," said Lund of the German carrier, "They have spares, they have training completed and their facilities are ready."

Boeing flew the 747-8 to Hamburg in December 2011 to allow the carrier to test the compatibility of the aircraft with its facilities prior to service entry.

The company's last major 747 passenger variant, the 747-400, was certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration in 1989.