Following a visit to this year’s Paris Airshow, Boeing has flown a 747-8 Freighter to Luxembourg, the home base of launch customer Cargolux Airlines. The aircraft is part of Boeing’s test fleet and is painted in Boeing colors. Cargolux staff, their families and the local media had the unique opportunity to see the world’s largest commercial cargo airplane on display at the Cargolux Maintenance Hangar after its international debut at the Paris Air Show on 20 June.
Cargolux became a launch customer of the 747-8F on 15 November 2005, when it signed a contract for 10 aircraft plus purchase rights for 10 additional 747-8 freighters. Cargolux later added another three 747‑8F to its firm order. The Company also holds two purchase options.
The new 747-8 is the successor to the B747-400 that has been decisive in paving the way of success for Cargolux and in consolidating its competitiveness. In comparison to its predecessor, the new 747-8 features improved performance in terms of payload, range, environmental compliance, noise reduction and fuel efficiency with modern GEnx engines from General Electric. It is 5.6 metres longer than the 747‑400 and offers a maximum payload capacity of 134 tonnes compared to the 113 tonnes of the former model.
Boeing has flown the 747-8 Freighter to the Paris Air Show on a full load of a Jet A/biofuel blend. This marked the first transatlantic flight of a commercial jetliner using biofuel and also the first where that fuel is being fed to all four engines. Previous biofuel flights have had the fuel confined to only one engine. Sten Rossby, Chief Technical Pilot at Cargolux, was one of the pilots on the flight. The aircraft flew to Luxembourg with the residual biofuel left in the tanks.
Cargolux has strongly supported the advance of biofuels and welcomes Boeing’s initiative. Cargolux’ commitment to the environment was one of the reasons why the all-new 747-8F was chosen to form the backbone of the Cargolux fleet in the years to come. Like the 747-400F before, the new aircraft will not only support the Company’s environmental ambitions, but also secure cost leadership in a highly competitive and low-profit margin environment and ensure Cargolux’ position at the top of the industry.
‘The new Boeing aircraft is our future,’ Frank Reimen, Cargolux President and CEO states, ‘it is a vehicle to secure our sustainability and profitability for the next decade. With the 747-8F, we will operate a game changer in terms of cost, capacity and environmental performance and a good long-term bet for our shareholders. I particularly appreciate the improved environmental performance of this aircraft, translating into sustained noise reduction, lower emissions and increased fuel efficiency.’
Boeing says that the first Cargolux 747-8F will be delivered in late summer 2011.