Posted by John McHaleSEATTLE, 21 March 2011. Boeing's 747-8 Intercontinental made its first flight in its flight test program with a four-hour, 25-minute over the state of Washington, where it reached a cruising altitude of 19,000 feet and a speed of up to 250 knots, or about 288 miles per hour. The flight test program, which will include more than 600 flight hours, will be completed by the end of this year."What a great privilege to be at the controls of such a great airplane on its first flight," says 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein, who was at the controls. "And what an honor to share this day with the thousands of men and women who designed and built this airplane."The 747-8 Intercontinental will have the lowest seat-mile cost of any large commercial jetliner, with 12 percent lower costs than its predecessor, the 747-400, Boeing officials say. The airplane provides 16 percent better fuel economy, 16 percent less carbon emissions per passenger, and generates a 30 percent smaller noise footprint than the 747-400. The 747-8 Intercontinental applies interior features from the 787 Dreamliner that includes a new curved, upswept architecture giving passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort, while adding more room for personal belongings.Korean Air and VIP operators have joined launch operator Lufthansa in ordering a total of 33 747-8 Intercontinentals. First delivery of the 747-8 Intercontinental is scheduled for the fourth quarter. Air China also has agreed to order five Intercontinentals, pending government approval.The airplane is painted in a new Sunrise livery of red-orange. The new colors honor many key Boeing customers whose cultures recognize these colors as symbols of prosperity and good luck. The Sunrise livery only will appear on the first 747-8 Intercontinental, which is scheduled to be delivered to a VIP operator at the end of the year.