Lufthansa’s introduction of the Boeing 747-8 has been a smooth ride so far, according to Dean Raineri, director of new aircraft readiness at Lufthansa Technik.

Raineri tells delegates at the MRO Europe conference that the airline achieved 100% dispatch reliability in the first two months of 747-8 operations – June and July. In August performance fell to 98.2%, but Raineri notes that with a fleet of only three aircraft so far, that is still a significant achievement.

The airline currently operates 10 Airbus A380s, and they are at just below 99% in terms of dispatch reliability.

Raineri says that “you cannot start too early” in terms of preparing for new aircraft entering the fleet, but that the bulk of the work and the steepest learning curve are in the last 15-20 months before entry into service.

While the 747-8 is a derivative aircraft, Raineri points out that a lot of its systems have been updated, so the introduction was similar to getting an aircraft that was developed from scratch. He predicts that airlines will have a similar experience when introducing types like the Boeing 737 MAX or the Boeing 777X over the next few years.