Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental passenger plane concludes first flight

15:40, March 21, 2011      

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The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental takes off on its maiden flight from Paine Field, in Everett, Washington, March 20, 2011. The 747-8 Intercontinental willseat 467 passengers, 51 more than the latest model of the classic 747, and burn less fuel while offering passengers more comfort, the U.S. planemaker says. (Xinhua/ AFP Photo)

Boeing's 747-8 Intercontinental took to the sky for the first time on Sunday, a milestone for the U.S. aviation giant's latest and biggest passenger plane.

Live webcast by Boeing showed that a 747-8 Intercontinental touched down at around 2:25 p.m. PST (2125 GMT) Sunday at the Boeing Field airport in Seattle in the U.S. states of Washington, after wrapping up the airplane's inaugural flight that lasted about four and half hours.

During the test flight, the pilots did some system and function checks and everything went fine, according to the webcast.

The new 747-8 Intercontinental can carry 467 passengers in a three-class configuration, said Boeing, which touted the new wide- body jet airliner as the only airplane in the 400-500 seat market.

Using 787-technology GEnx engines, the airplane will be quieter, produce lower emissions and achieve better fuel economy for airlines, Boeing said.

The airplane also features a new wing design and an upgraded flight deck. Its interior incorporates features from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner including a new curved, upswept architecture that will give passengers a greater sense of space and comfort, while adding more room for personal belongings.

Boeing has noted that compared with its predecessor, the 747- 400, the 747-8 Intercontinental provides 16 percent better fuel economy, 16 percent less carbon emissions per passenger and generates 30 percent smaller noise footprint, while carries 51 more passengers.

Boeing in February said that Korean Air, VIP customers and launch customer Lufthansa have ordered a total of 33 747-8 passenger planes, with the first delivery scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.

It is reported that the 747-8 Intercontinental has a list price of about 317 million U.S. dollars.

Earlier in March, Boeing announced that it has signed an agreement with Air China for the purchase of five 747-8 Intercontinental jetliners.

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Source: Xinhua
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