Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental completes first test flight

Boeing’s latest passenger aircraft, the 747-8 Intercontinental, has successfully completed its first test flight in the US.

The aircraft took off on 20 March from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed four hours and 25 minutes later at Boeing Field in Seattle.

Sunday’s flight was the first of more than 600 flight hours in the test programme for the 747-8 Intercontinental, which will finish in the fourth quarter.

During the flight, the aircraft followed a route over eastern Washington, where it underwent tests for basic handling and performance.

It reached a cruising altitude of 19,000ft (5,791m) and a speed of up to 250 knots, or about 288mph (463km/h).

Boeing claims that the 747-8 Intercontinental will have the lowest seat-mile cost of any large commercial jetliner, with 12 per cent lower costs than its predecessor, the 747-400.

Capable of carrying 467 passengers, the aircraft is claimed to provide 16 per cent better fuel economy and 16 per cent less carbon emissions per passenger and will generate a 30 per cent smaller noise footprint than the 747-400.

Korean Air and VIP customers have joined launch customer Lufthansa in ordering a total of 33 747-8 Intercontinentals. First delivery of the 747-8 Intercontinental is scheduled for the fourth quarter.

Air China has also agreed to order five Intercontinentals, pending government approval.