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747-8 Intercontinental flight expected this spring

At press event in Everett, Wash., Boeing exec says she expects the next-gen 747's first flight to be early spring, and that it'll be delivered to customers starting in fourth quarter.

EVERETT, Washington--Boeing expects to make the first flight of its next-generation 747-8 Intercontinental sometime in early spring of this year.

That was the word from Elizabeth Lund, the 747 program's vice president and deputy program manager, at a media event here today.

Of course, given lengthy delays with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner program, it would be fair to say that no "expected" date can be firmly counted on. Indeed, Boeing maintains that despite the expected schedule, the plane will take its first flight, and make its first delivery "when it's ready," Lund said.

Still, she said she was very confident about the schedule she announced.

The plane is expected to be the world's most fuel efficient and can carry more passengers at a lower fuel cost-per-mile than the current generation 747-400.

Stay tuned for much more from this weekend's 747-8 Intercontinental events.