The date was set. RSVPs were sent out. Engine displays were moved. All to prepare for Boeing’s first delivery of their 747-8F to Cargolux. But now it will all have to wait.
At 9:30am on Monday, September 19th, Boeing was to hand over the first 747-8 to Cargolux and the cargo operator was going to fly the plane from Paine Field at about 11am. Now, Cargolux has stated they will not take delivery of their aircraft and the delivery celebration will need to be re-scheduled.
“We have unresolved issues between ourselves and Cargolux,” Boeing spokesperson Jim Proulx said. “We are working with our customer to determine a date for delivery.”
According to Max Kingsley-Jones with Flight Global, this could be a disagreement on the two companies’ contract. The aircraft was supposed to be first delivered about two years ago, but has run into a series of different issues. Kingsley-Jones states, “The Cargolux row is understood to centre on the 747-8F’s non-compliance with contractual guarantees, suggesting that it is connected in some way to the performance issues.”
Could this have been a game of corporate chicken? No matter who is at fault, this surely does not look good for Boeing. Their 787 and 747-8F programs have been delayed and this month they had delivery dates set for both aircraft (the 787 Dreamliner is scheduled to be delivered on Sept 26th). Now, right before the finish, Boeing is given yet another delay. Media from around the world are in process of flying into Seattle for the delivery ceremony scheduled for just a few days away. Instead of headlines about Boeing finally delivering their 747-8F, now the headlines will talk about another delay.
Now the question is valid once again: what will deliver first? The 747-8 or the 787?
Boeing’s Randy Tinseth has updated his blog stating, “We still need to work through some contractual issues with our customer Cargolux, so first delivery won’t take place as scheduled on Monday. Employee and media events for next week have also been postponed.”
Jon Ostrower on his Flight Blogger site is reporting that Boeing 747 vice president and general manager Elizabeth Lund stated in an internal letter, “Earlier today we received notification from our 747-8 Freighter launch customer Cargolux that it would not take delivery of its first airplane on Monday. We are working closely with Cargolux to determine the delivery dates for both its first and second airplanes… I am disappointed to have to share this information with you. I remain confident that we will work through these issues and look forward to celebrating the delivery of this great airplane with you.”
UPDATE 3 (9/17 11am PT):
According to David Kaminski-Morrow with Flight Global, Cargolux has stated, “”In the event that the issues cannot be resolved in a timely manner, Cargolux will source alternative capacity to fully meet customer demand and expectations ahead of the traditional high season.” Kaminski-Morrow also stated that Cargolux Board of Directors made this decision during a meeting on September 16th due to “unresolved contractual issues.” Financing for the two Boeing 747-8Fs have been put on hold.
There is a lot of talk on the internet as well about the fact that Qatar Airways recently purchased 35% of Cargolux and created a new board of directors. There could be some issues that the new board disagree with and were looking to get more from Boeing. At this point since neither side is saying much more on why the deal was stopped last minute, there are just a lot of rumors and speculation. I would imagine other Boeing 747-8F customers have picked up the phone to ask Boeing why this deal has not gone through.
UPDATE 4: New post created
This story will be updated as new information is given
Photo by moonm