The first Boeing 747-400ER, whose capabilities include greater range and more payload, is taking shape in Seattle.

Workers have begun assembling the forward section's floor grid, which is located just aft of the aircraft's nose. Boeing used the occasion to re-affirm its commitment to the venerable aircraft.

"Boeing is firmly committed to the continuing evolution of this airplane providing new features and capabilities to the 747 that add value for our customers," says Jeff Peace, 747 vice-president and general manager.

The 747-400ER, available in both passenger and cargo versions, is the same size as the existing 747-400, but Boeing has increased its gross takeoff weight by 15,870kg.

The 747-400ER now under assembly features an auxiliary fuel tank in the aircraft's lower lobe. It will roll off the assembly line in June.

Source: Flight Daily News