Lufthansa cancels order for 747-8I test aircraft

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Lufthansa has formally cancelled a Boeing 747-8I order after the manufacturer asked to retain the respective aircraft for internal purposes.

The aircraft in question, RC021, which is registered N6067U, was part of Boeing's three-strong flight-test fleet and used to test cabin systems such as air conditioning, galley and lighting equipment.

It has been furnished with Lufthansa's cabin interior and visited the German carrier's base in Frankfurt in December 2011 for promotional filming work and ground operational tests prior to the first delivery in April.

The aircraft, which is already painted in Lufthansa's basic colour scheme with a white fuselage, grey underside and blue vertical stabiliser, was to be delivered as the carrier's fifth 747-8I later in the year.

But Lufthansa revealed during the summer that it would only take four aircraft in 2012. Boeing wanted to keep the aircraft for internal purposes for two years, says the airline, and asked to "relieve" the delivery schedule.

The carrier originally ordered 20 747-8Is, which were to be delivered in batches of five every year through 2015.

Lufthansa says that it has decided, in the meantime, to cancel its order for RC021 "purely due to reasons of flexibility" but that the remaining balance of 15 747-8Is would be delivered as planned until 2015. The airline adds, however, that it might order a "factory-new" 747-8I at a later stage.