By Max Kingsley-Jones
Cargolux has informed Boeing it will not take delivery of its first 747-8 freighter on Monday as planned, due to a contractual tussle, the airframer confirms.
The Luxembourg-based freight operator is due to receive its first of 13 General Electric GEnx-powered 747-8Fs during the high-profile ceremony at Boeing's Everett plant near Seattle on 19 September. However, Flightglobal has learnt from well-placed industry sources that, in a last minute wrangle over "unresolved issues", Cargolux is withdrawing its personnel from Boeing's plant and has informed the airframer that it will not accept delivery of the aircraft. The airline had been due to take its second 747-8F two days later, on 21 September.
UPDATE 3:58 PM ET: The official statement from Boeing:
"Due to unresolved issues with Cargolux, delivery of the first Boeing 747-8 Freighter will not take place on Monday, Sept. 19. We continue to work with Cargolux and look forward to delivering its airplanes."
UPDATE Appox. 9 PM ET: Vice president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Marketing, Randy Tinseth, posted on his company blog about the delay:
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.
While this is disappointing to all of us here at Boeing, we're working with Cargolux to resolve the issues. They've been an incredible partner going back a long way. Two decades ago, they became the first carrier worldwide to operate the 747-400 Freighter. It's only fitting that they became the launch customer of the new 747-8 Freighter.
The 747-8 Freighter is something to celebrate--and we plan on doing just that very soon.
Earlier, Boeing 747 vice president and general manager Elizabeth Lund also addressed the issue internally to employees:
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.
In light of these events, the employee celebration on Tuesday has been cancelled.
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 9/17 6:18 PM ET:
Cargolux is calling its refusal to take delivery of the first two 747-8Fs a "rejection"
and if the contract are not resolved quickly, the cargo carrier will seek capacity elsewhere, reports Flightglobal.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.