Boeing delivered the first passenger version of it new generation 747 Tuesday, but it left the factory without the 467 seats most of its stablemates will carry. The first 747-I is going to an unnamed individual, but he or she won't actually get to fly on it for a couple of years, long enough to turn it into "the jewel of the sky" at a completion center in Germany. However, the delivery makes the aircraft the biggest private aircraft in the world, at least until Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal gets his A380.
Lufthansa has ordered 20 of the more mundane versions of the stretched and modernized jumbo jet, but Boeing has not announced when those deliveries will start. Speculation is the passenger version will go on a diet to shed some of the 15,000-20,000 pounds it's believed to have gained during development. Boeing announced a 14,000-pound increase in takeoff weight last month but concerns linger about payload and fuel burn. Boeing says it expects to have the aircraft performing to its original specs by 2014.