(Updated 27 JANUARY 2015) Air China recently received its first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (74H). The Chinese flag carrier is the second airline in the world to operate the 747-8I and the first to operate the type in Asia. The new flagship is configured with four class types and is currently operating U.S. flights to New York-JFK and San Francisco. Frankfurt will see 74H services starting June 2016.
Air China cooperated with renowned British design firm JPA and well-respected Chinese artist, Meilin Han (韩美林) to design the interiors of the 747-8I. Han is famous for his design of the Air China phoenix logo, Fuwa dolls for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and various other artworks that showcase the beauty of the Chinese culture. For the 747-8I interior theme, Han incorporated three ancient Chinese elements: auspicious clouds (祥云), potter’s clay (陶土), and fortunate phoenix (瑞凤). Together, they represent harmony among sky, earth, and flying. The delicately designed cabin will allow passengers to have a spectacular cultural journey once they enter the aircraft.
The 74H has a four-class 365-seat configuration and is installed with seats that are mostly identical with that of the 777-300ER. There are 12 suites in First Class, 54 seats in Business Class, 66 seats in Premium Economy, and 233 seats in Economy Class. First Class, located on the lower deck behind Business Class, is configured in a 1-2-1 layout. For each customer, the Zodiac UK (Contour) Venus seat features a 24-inch 16:9 screen, personal wardrobes, and various storage areas. There are also liftable panels in the middle seats to increase privacy. The mood lighting of the Boeing Sky Interior further enhances the flying experience.
Business Class features 2 different variants of layout: 2-2 for the upper cabin and 2-2-2 for the lower cabin. The seat type, B/E Aerospace Parallel Diamond, is utilized by carriers including KLM, Lufthansa, and Qatar Airways. The angled seat placement provides passengers with more privacy, while the lie-flat design allows passengers to enjoy a comfortable sleep. The armrest is liftable to provide further space and comfort. A 15.4-inch PTV screen is installed on each seat for entertainment purposes.
Moreover, both First Class and Business Class passengers get to enjoy walk-up bars. A total of three “Central Bars” are installed on the 74H for premium passengers. For First Class passengers, the bar is located at the lower deck-entrance of the staircase. As for Business Class passengers, the lower-deck bar is located at the back of the nose section while the upper-deck bar is located next to the emergency exits. All Central Bars are opened throughout the flight and offer a variety of snacks and wines, from the Air China “Cellar in the Sky” selection.
As for Premium Economy Class and Economy Class, both have 3-4-3 configurations and the same seat type, the “Star Plus” model from B/E Aerospace. Star Plus was developed exclusively for Star Alliance members based on the Pinnacle model. So far, Lufthansa, Austria Airlines, and Air China have installed the seat type. On the Air China 747-8I, each seat has a 105-degree recline, 9-inch PTV screen, universal power outlet, adjustable headrest and footrest. The differences between the classes lie in the leg room and color palette; Premium Economy Class seats feature 20% more seat pitch.
Air China plans to operate 7 Boeing 747-8I by the end of 2015. The 74H along with the Boeing 777-300ERs and the soon-to-be-delivered Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will make up Air China’s next generation long haul fleet.
EXTRA: Air China Boeing 747-8I Advertisement (History of CA and the Boeing 747)
Air China Boeing 747-8I Assembly/ PTQ (Put Together Quickly)