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Cargolux takes delivery of first 747-8F

By control on October 12, 2011

Boeing and launch customer Cargolux have settled their month-long dispute, culminating in the delivery of the first 747-8 freighter on October 12. The Luxembourg-based freight carrier acquired the second of 13 747-8s it ordered from Boeing one day later.

A Cargolux spokesman said contractual issues, which led to the carrier’s self-professed “rejection” of first two freighters three days before a scheduled September 19 delivery ceremony, have been resolved. According to company officials, the Cargolux Board of Directors reached a consensus during an October 7 meeting.

The board “appreciated that the negotiation team — Akbar al Baker, director; Frank Reimen, president and CEO; and David Arendt, executive vice president and chief financial officer — and company management took the appropriate actions to ensure that the 747-8 entry into service issues be resolved successfully,” the Cargolux spokesman said.

Reimen also praised the work done by his fellow board members. “I am pleased that we have reached agreement on the contractual issues,” he said in a statement. “The 747-8 freighter will be a driver of profitable growth for Cargolux.”

It’s a seemingly happy ending to the saga that climaxed on September 16, with the announcement that Cargolux wouldn’t be taking delivery of the first two 747-8Fs. The news, which sent shockwaves throughout the airfreight industry, came amid plans for a three-day ceremony commemorating the launch at Boeing’s Everett, Wash.-based facilities.

According to Cargolux, an issue with the 747-8’s engine was to blame. The carrier’s actions started a chain reaction, which culminated in Atlas Air rescinding the first three of 12 747-8Fs it ordered from Boeing.

Citing production delays and concerns about the aircraft’s performance, Atlas Air exercised its termination rights for the three early-model freighters, which were scheduled for delivery this year.

Atlas Air will still acquire three 747-8Fs by the end of 2011, although they will be more recently built models. Boeing will then hand over four more freighters to the cargo carrier next year, with the final two expected for delivery in 2013. To accommodate these new aircraft, Atlas Air will retire five older-generation 747-200s in 2012.

“As prudent asset managers, terminating the first three aircraft was the right decision for our fleet, our customers and our stockholders,” Atlas Air CEO William Flynn stated. “We expect the remaining 747-8Fs in our order to be better-performing aircraft than those we have terminated.”

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