The US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency have jointly awarded Boeing an Amended Type Certificate (ATC) for the 747-8 freighter, clearing aircraft for an early September delivery to launch customer Cargolux.

"Over the last several years, this team has overcome challenge after challenge. Through their hard work and dedication, they have ensured that the 747, the Queen of the Skies, will fly for decades to come," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh of the almost two years of delays that have plagued the programme.

The type, powered by four General Electric GEnx-2B67 engines, has flown more than 3,400h since its first flight on 8 February 2010, completing its certification flight test programme on 3 August 2011.

Cargolux 747-8F

 © Boeing

Boeing's FAA-awarded PC-700 production certificate now covers the jumbo freighter, validating that Boeing "reliably produce airplanes that will conform to the airplane's design", a certification also accepted by EASA through the FAA's oversight of US aircraft makers.

The aircraft, the largest commercial western freighter ever built, features a 434t (975,000lb) maximum takeoff weight and a nose-to-tail length of 76.3m (250ft 2in) and a wingspan of 68.5m (224ft 7in).

With its fuselage 5.6m (18ft 4in) longer than the 747-400F, cargo operators are provided room for 16% more revenue cargo or four additional main-deck pallets and three lower-hold pallets.

Boeing holds orders for 78 747-8F aircraft from 12 customers.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news