Cargolux announced over the weekend that it reached a tentative agreement with Boeing over contractual “issues” with respect of the delivery of the first two Boeing 747-8 Freighters initially scheduled for September 19 and 21. The company said it would disclose further details after the signing of the accord and a meeting of its board of directors on October 7.
The rejection of the deliveries by Luxembourg-based cargo carrier came as an embarrassment for Boeing, which had planned to hold special ceremonies in Everett, Wash., to mark the milestone following some two years of delays caused by design changes and certain flight test “discoveries.” The delays had already forced Boeing to pay untold millions of dollars in compensation for late deliveries.
Asked for detailed comment on the reasons for the change in plans, a Boeing spokesman referred AIN to Cargolux. The airline, too, simply cited unresolved contractual “issues.”
However, fellow 747-8 customer Atlas Air cited Boeing’s failure to meet performance guarantees for its subsequent decision to cancel three “early build” 747-8Fs. It now holds firm orders for nine.
The company now expects to take delivery of three 747-8Fs this year, four next year and two in 2013. It has placed the first five under long-term ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) contracts.
“As prudent asset managers, terminating the first three aircraft was the right decision for our fleet, our customers and our stockholders,” said William J. Flynn, president and CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide. “We expect the remaining 747-8Fs in our order to be better-performing aircraft than those we have terminated.”
Boeing has rescheduled delivery of the first three aircraft to early 2012 and moved three more recently built, better-performing 747-8 freighters to the 2011 delivery positions, said Atlas Air. The cargo carrier now expects to receive its first 747-8F from Boeing this month, followed by two in November and two in the first half of 2012. Plans call for the first three aircraft to enter ACMI service with British Airways and the second two with Switzerland’s Panalpina.