Boeing airplane 747-8(370).
(photo credit: Yochai Mossi- Courtesy Lufthansa)
Boeing’s new 747-8, the longest commercial passenger airplane in the world,
landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday for the first time. The Lufthansa
airliner was greeted by a festive champagne and hors d’oevres reception attended
by Ben-Gurion Airport officials, Lufthansa senior staff, travel industry
professionals, the media and airplane enthusiasts.
Lufthansa is the
launch customer of the new Boeing “Queen of the Skies,” which is a new
generation of the landmark 747-400 that has enhanced features such as improved
fuel efficiency, reduced noise and a higher number of business-class
When the plane landed, an Israeli flag was flown from the cockpit
window and the aircraft was sprayed with water from two trucks, an aviation
tradition to mark events of special significance.
flight to Israel was a road-show exhibition of the new plane, not a regular
commercial flight, and Lufthansa does not anticipate using the plane on its
routes from Germany to Tel Aviv.
The German carrier currently uses the
wide-bodied plane for its long-haul routes to San Francisco, Washington,
Chicago, Hong Kong, Bangalore and Delhi, said Carsten Shaeffer, Lufthansa’s vice
president of sales and service for the region. The short flights to Tel Aviv do
not justify its use from an economic perspective, he said.
he was very proud to showcase the latest addition to Lufthansa’s fleet in
Israel, adding that Israel was a key market for the airline.
was focused on adding more frequency to the Frankfurt-Tel Aviv route under the
Open Skies Agreement between Israel and Europe, Shaeffer said. It wants to
increase the number of flights between the two cities from two to three per day,
The aircraft features 80 premium seats in business class and
eight in first class. The business-class seat features a full, flat horizontal
bed, which was very comfortable.
Lufthansa said it has invested three
billion euros in the plane’s business-class product.
The 747-8 landing in
Tel Aviv had special significance for Ben-Gurion Airport, Shmuel Zakai, the
airport’s managing director, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
fact that this plane landed here today is recognition that Ben-Gurion Airport is
prepared to receive such large jets from an aviation regulations standpoint,” he
Lufthansa is one of the most important carriers for the airport and
provides an “air bridge from Israel to Europe,” he added.
Captain Heyen Andreas and First Officer Yaniv Emanuel, both said flying the
747-8 had the same feeling as flying the 747-400.
The jet was “the most
beautiful aircraft,” Andreas said.
Emanuel, an Israeli pilot who has been
flying for Lufthansa for 13 years, flew especially for the celebratory flight to
“It is very exciting to come to Israel with this plane,” he
This reporter was a guest of the airline on Flight LH 9883 to