Boeing's engineering team on the 747-8 Intercontinental has completed one-fourth of the design data needed to start building tools and parts.

Passing the 25% design release milestone shows the passenger aircraft is making "tremendous progress," says Mo Yahyavi, Boeing's new 747 VP and general manager. Yahyavi replaced Ross Bogue as the 747 chief in February.

The 747-8I will share the same 5.6m (18.3ft) stretch as the 747-8F, offering 467 seats in a three-class configuration and a range of 14,815km (8,000nm), Boeing says.

Boeing says the 747-8I will reduce seat mile costs by 13% compared to the 747-400, and provide 26% more cargo volume. The new widebody also will generate a 30% smaller noise footprint, Boeing says.

The design milestone comes less than a week after Boeing executives announced a new delay for the 747-8I passenger aircraft.

The first delivery for launch customer Lufthansa Airlines has been rescheduled to the fourth quarter of 2011, or two quarters later than the previously revised plan released in November.

Boeing has also disclosed that net orders for the 747-8 family have declined by one. It was not immediately clear if the order reduction involved a freighter or passenger version.

Boeing now has a combined order book of 105 747-8s.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news