Air China’s first 747-8 completing its first flight – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Air China has taken delivery of their first 747-89L, making them the second operator of the 747-8 Intercontinental after Lufthansa.
Air China will operate the 747-8 on training flights from Beijing to Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport. The aircraft’s first international destination will be Frankfurt, with New York and Los Angeles both slated to gain service as more aircraft arrive.
Air China’s 747-8 is configured in four classes with 12 first class seats, 54 business class, 66 premium economy, and 233 economy seats. Economy class will offer between 32 and 33 inches of seat pitch, whilst Premium Economy will offer 38″. The aircraft will also feature onboard wifi.
The whole cabin was designed by famed Chinese designer Han Meilin. But it was odd that we didn’t get more information about the interior.
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.
Cargolux Boeing 747-8F
“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?
UPDATE: 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.”
UPDATE 2: 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.
You remember being a kid and splashing in the puddles? Well, I guess I sometimes get in the mood to do it as an adult to. Take the excitement of jumping in puddles, add a Boeing 747-8 and you have total awesomeness.
One of the tests the Boeing 747-8 must go through is a water spray test before getting certification. Boeing created a large puddle and ran the 747-8 through it at 30, 40, then finally at 50kts to see how the water would react to the body.
The test was conducted in Glasgow, Montana and Bernard Choi with Boeing Communications told me, “The airplane and engines performed as designed.”
Two Royal Air Maroc and one JAL Boeing 787 Dreamliner next to the Future of Flight
Here it is, the beginning of October and for some odd reason we are having really nice weather in Seattle. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. Knowing Saturday was probably going to be one of the last sunny days we are going to see around these parts and knowing Boeing towed three Boeing 787’s right next to the Future of Flight, I figured it was a really nice day to go visit Paine Field (KPAE) again.
How many brand spak'n new Boeing aircraft can you identify here?
There are a lot of Boeing 787 Dreamliners sitting outside waiting for parts. There are so many, that Boeing is having to get creative with where they are parking the aircraft. There are now three 787 Dreamliners parked next to the Future of Flight and two more outside the Boeing hangars. The three by the Future of Flight are two Royal Air Maroc Dreamliners and one JAL. By the hangars is a JAL and one all white 787 (photo).
That's a lot of eye candy at Boeing's fuel dock
The Dreamliners aren’t the only thing overly impressive on this trip. There were also five aircraft sitting at the Boeing fuel dock. Two Dreamlifters, one Boeing 747-8, one Boeing 777 for V Australia and one Boeing 767 for JAL.
It is a stare off between Boeing 747-8's
On the east side are quite a few new Boeing 747-8s. The British Airways World Cargo 747 is still sitting with just a blue belly as it was a few weeks back. There is also a nice collection of Boeing 747-8F in Korean Air Cargo and Cathay Pacific liveries. There was also one that just has the rudder painted and is a Nippon Cargo Airlines 747-8F (photo).
Visiting Paine Field is always an awesome experience, especially when it is sunny. I feel very lucky to live just a quick 15 minute drive from one of the most interesting airports in the world.