Cargolux's first Boeing 747-8F (LX-VCB) takes off from Paine Field earlier today. Photo by Boeing. Click for hi-res.
No music, no balloons and no Champagne to celebrate Boeing’s first delivery of their new 747-8F (LX-VCB) yesterday. It is really sort of sad that so much has gone into making the new 747-8F and it took off from Paine Field with almost no fanfare.
The plane was supposed to be delivered with three days of celebration on September 19th. Cargolux was not happy with the 747’s performance and went into negotiations with GE and Boeing. All three companies were silent during these negotiations and it wasn’t until September 30th, that Cargolux/Qatar Airways announced it was looking to take delivery on October 12th. Many were waiting to see what would happen after an October 7th board meeting, but all three still remained mostly silent.
The Boeing 747-8F gets its first real cargo load at SEA. Photo by the Port of Seattle.
It was not until early yesterday morning that rumors started to turn into facts when it became clear that Cargolux would take delivery of their first 747-8F. Even though it should have been a happy day, it just feels like it was sort of stolen. Yes, it is great that in the last 30-days, Boeing has finally delivered not only their first 747-8F, but also their first 787 Dreamliner, but it is just unfortunate that all the employees who have spent many hours on the aircraft were not able to celebrate like the 787 team did.
Nose up. Cargo in. It didn't take long for Cargolux to put their new 747-8F to work. Photo from the Port of Seattle.
After being handed over to Cargolux, LX-VCB’s first flight was short. A quick hop from Paine Field (PAE), down to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) where it took a few hours to be loaded with cargo and then off to Luxembourg. Although seeing a Cargolux Boeing 747 at SEA is nothing new.
Cargolux is one SEA’s longest serving cargo carriers which began in 1983 and in 2010, the airline shipped 8,796 metric tons of cargo through SEA. “We appreciate the commitment by Cargolux to this region’s freight hauling capacity by placing this historic aircraft into service right here at Sea-Tac,” said Mark Reis, Managing Director of Sea-Tac Airport. “This investment by our freight partner highlights the capabilities of Sea-Tac’s air cargo service as an economic engine to our entire region.”
Easy does it. Surely don't want to damage a brand new plane. Photo from the Port of Seattle.
It is interesting that on Boeing’s press release for the delivery, they don’t give exact numbers on the 747-8’s increased performance vs the 747-400. “The 747-8 Freighter offers double-digit improvements in fuel burn, operating cost and lower emissions over the airplane it replaces.” Previously Boeing has stated a 16% performance gain, which Carglux has stated there is a 2.7% shortfall in that gain, which has caused the delivery delay.
Here are some other Cargolux Delivery goodies to check out:
* Seattle PI photos of the delivery
* Video from the Future of Flight
* Boeing’s official Boeing 747-8F first delivery website
Cargolux Boeing 747-8F. It appears the first delivery will happen today.
From multiple sources, it looks like the first Boeing 747-8F is finally set to be delivered to Cargolux sometime today after a lot of complications. As of now the aircraft shows to be leaving Paine Field at 11am and heading to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on Flight Aware.
Boeing is not confirming the delivery and told me that it would be announced when the delivery takes place (which could be before or after).
Jon Ostrower is also hearing that the first 747-8F will deliver to Cargolux today. It appears that instead of the three-day celebration of the delivery, the delivery will be done quietly. Let’s hope there will be a celebration of Cargolux’s second delivery.
Boeing has confirmed that Cargolux will receive their first Boeing 747-8F today at Paine Field. The plane will depart from Paine Field at about 11am and is scheduled to have a short, six minute flight to SEA, to presumably load up with Cargo before heading home to Luxembourg.
The second 747-8F is scheduled to be delivered to Cargolux tomorrow, October 13th.
WATCH THE CARGOLUX 747-8F TAKE OFF VIA PAINE FIELD’S WEBCAM (thanks Mark)
Cargolux Boeing 747-8F
It has been over three weeks since Cargolux was supposed to take delivery of their first Boeing 747-8 Freighter. As of now, there is still no official date for when that delivery will occur.
During an unrelated event, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, who has a 35% stake in Cargolux, stated that he hoped Cargolux would take ownership of their first 747-8F on October 12th. That date was dependent on a Cargolux board meeting that took place on Friday, October 7th.
According to a press release issued by Cargolux, a decision was not reached during the board meeting. “Discussions over these issues will continue over the weekend. The Company will provide an update as soon as an agreement has been reached.”
As of today, there is still no date for when Cargolux will receive their first 747-8F.
At this point, Boeing is not sure if there will be a delivery celebration or a quiet departure; they are waiting to hear what Cargolux desires. “We continue to speak with Cargolux and look forward to delivering its airplanes,” Boeing spokesperson Doug Alder Jr, explained to AirlineReporter.com.
Cargolux Boeing 747-8F
Boeing was set to deliver their first 747-8F to Cargolux on September 19th, but at the last minute, the Luxembourg-based cargo company put the deal on hold and the delivery was postponed. Both Boeing and Cargolux kept quiet and rumors started about the reasoning behind this odd business maneuver. According to Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, who has a 35% stake in Cargolux, the issues stem from the 747-8F being 2.7% less fuel efficient than advertised. Al Baker stated that the issues causing the airline to back out of accepting delivery are related to GE, who built the engines on the 747-8F, and not Boeing. At this point, Cargolux is expected to take ownership of their first 747-8F on October 12th, pending the airlines board approving during their meeting on October 7th.
During a Boeing 777 delivery event for Qatar Airways, Al Baker was asked about Cargolux and their handling of the situation. “Unfortunately, the management of Cargolux did not take the action they should have taken during the process of the aircraft acceptance,” Al-Baker stated according to Bloomberg. “As we sit on the board of Cargolux, we have full right to object if we find something is not fair as far as Cargolux is concerned.”
One of the loudest rumors about this deal was that Qatar Airways was holding Cargolux’s 747-8F hostage for a better compensation deal on their 787 Dreamliners. However, Al Baker clearly stated that the Cargolux 747-8F delay has nothing to do with compensation for the 787 Dreamliner. “The issue really with this aircraft has nothing to do with Boeing. It has to do with an issue that we had with the engine manufacturer,” Al Baker said according to the Seattle PI. “This issue has been resolved” subject to board approval.
GE has already announced that they are working on a Performance Improvement Package (PIP) for the the GEnx-2B engine found on the 747-8. The package is not slated to be ready until mid-2013.
Even with all the issues that Qatar and Cargolux have recently had with Boeing, according to ArabianBusiness.com, Al-Baker described his relationship with Boeing as strong, “despite a few hiccups along the way.” At this point, it is not certain what the delivery celebration will entail and Boeing is waiting until after the October 7th board meeting to announce any plans.