German carrier Lufthansa’s “Queen of the Skies” or the B747-8 Intercontinental, made its debut in India today touching down at the airport here from Frankfurt.
The world’s newest aircraft was given a grand water canon salute at Terminal 3 of India Gandhi International Airport.
Delhi is the second destination worldwide to receive the B747-8.
Having deployed the new aircraft on its Frankfurt-Washington route, Lufthansa chose India as the first country in Asia to introduce the 362-seat “Queen of the Skies”, which has 92 business class seats with more sleeping surface and other facilities developed after years of research.
“Being the first airline to introduce this exceptional aircraft to India underlines our commitment to continue our success story here.
“Making India the Asian launch pad for Lufthansa’s new Business Class highlights our endeavour to provide Indian customers with the best Lufthansa products worldwide,” Axel Hilgers, South Asia Director for Lufthansa, said.
The aircraft’s significantly improved aerodynamics of the wings, newly developed wingtips and GEnx-2B engines achieve a 15 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions per passenger.
“The passenger response on the inaugural flight was overwhelming in all classes, this confirms our high expectations for the B747-8 and its great new on-board products,” he said.
The German carrier will also introduce its all new Boeing 747-8 on the Bangalore-Frankfurt route within next two months, most likely by September end.
“Lufthansa is the first airline in the world to fly Boeing 747-8. It will fly 20 new Boeing 747-8 after acquiring them in phases by 2015,” J. Schneider, Vice-President, Product management, Lufthansa, said shortly before the launch of the Frankfurt-Delhi flight.
He said Lufthansa is upgrading its products in over 100 Intercontinental aircraft and several hundred continental ones as part of a massive three billion euro programme.
Lufthansa is the global launch customer for the latest avatar of the legendary family of Jumbo Jets. Today’s B747-8 introduction marks the beginning of a wider overhaul of Lufthansa’s fleet to India. The new aircraft replaces the B747-400 on Lufthansa’s daily direct Delhi-Frankfurt service.
Lufthansa’s new Business Class will also be launched on A330-300 aircraft flying between Mumbai and Munich.