Boeing programmes chief Shanahan to oversee 747-8

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In an effort to right its struggling jumbo freighter, Boeing airplane programmes vice president, Pat Shanahan, will shepherd the aircraft through flight test and certification.

In an internal message to employees, Shanahan says starting 30 August he will oversee the 747-8 programme, displacing current vice president and general manager Mo Yahyavi.

Yahyavi, who joined the 747-8 programme in February 2009, is well respected inside the company for his work on moving the 747-8F into flight test, as well as his role as head of the company's P-8A Poseidon programme. Shanahan says Yahyavi will move to an unspecified special assignment.

Shanahan will continue his responsibilities overseeing the operations of the company's commercial programmes.

Joining Shanahan to run the 747-8 is Elizabeth Lund, current vice president and general manager of the 767 programme, assuming the role of deputy programme manager.

Kim Pastega, current head of 777 manufacturing, will replace Lund as 767 vice president and general manager, while current head of 747-8 interiors, Jason Clark, will fill the role held by Pastega.

Boeing now says a "very high probability" exists that first deliveries of the new jumbo freighter to Cargolux will slip into 2011, but an official shift in the schedule has yet to be announced.

The programme has been beset by a spate of technical issues since its first flight in February, including a vibrating inboard landing gear door, oscillating inboard aileron actuator and a mid-weight near-cruise speed structural flutter.

First delivery of the 747-8F remains slated for year's end.