Boeing announced today it is preparing for the last step in the structural assembly of the first 747-8 after joining its wing and centre fuselage.

The pending final body join will next attach the centre fuselage with the forward and aft fuselage sections, Boeing says.

The preparations have begun after workers joined the 12m (40ft) fuselage section to the centre wing box, Boeing says. In May, Boeing also completed assembly of the 27.2m forward fuselage section.

No schedule has been released for the next step in the assembly process.

First flight for the 747-8F is scheduled later this year in order to meet a projected first delivery date to Cargolux in the third quarter of 2010.

"We continue to gain momentum on the assembly of the 747-8 Freighter," says Mo Yahyavi, Boeing's VP and general manager for the 747, in a statement.

747-8 wing join
 © Boeing

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news