Boeing has declared its new 747-8 freighter as ready for its maiden flight, following the completion of high-speed taxiing tests.

The aircraft is scheduled to conduct its first sortie at Boeing's facility in Seattle today.

During the taxiing tests - the final operational check before the flight trials begin - the aircraft reached a speed of around 90kt.

Boeing's 747 programme vice-president Mo Yahyavi says that the aircraft "performed well" during the tests, which ended on 6 February.

"Based on early indications, the airplane is ready to fly," he adds.

Boeing is to undertake some 1,600hr of flight tests of the General Electric GEnx-2B-powered aircraft before first delivery to Cargolux in the fourth quarter of this year.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news