Delivery dates in sight for 747-8F and 787

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With US Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certifications in hand, Boeing's final month of 747-8 freighter and 787 first delivery milestones has emerged. The company places the handover to its patient launch customers as early as 7 and 22 September, respectively, a source familiar with the airframer's plans said.

The FAA and EASA awarded amended type certificates to Boeing for the 747-8F on 19 August, and type and FAA production certificates for its 787 on 26 August, providing the airframer the authority to deliver its two newest aircraft types. Japan Civil Aviation Bureau certification is expected this week.

Both types have previously been significantly delayed, after supply chain issues and design changes pushed deliveries back by three and a half years for the 787 and two years for the 747-8F.

cargolux 747-8f
 © Boeing

The seven-day separation between final regulatory approvals for the new aircraft concludes more than a decade and a half of combined work in Boeing's history, as the company now moves into delivering the 827 787s and 78 747-8Fs it has on order.

747-8F launch customer, Luxembourg-based Cargolux, is expecting its first aircraft, RC502, to make its first flight as early as 27 August, and could take delivery as early as 7 September following a customer acceptance flight around 2 September.

The European cargo carrier is expected to take its second 747-8F later in the month, while Cathay Pacific Cargo also plans to take delivery in September of two of the 10 freighters the carrier has on order.

All Nippon Airways - which first signed on to the then-named 7E7 programme in 2004 - will receive its first 787, the first of 55 the Japanese airline has on order, sometime between 22 and 30 September, with a flyaway to Japan from Boeing's Everett, Washington factory anticipated as little as two days after the handover.

With Japanese certification awarded, ANA will inaugurate regular 787 service on 1 November, connecting Tokyo's Haneda airport, Okayama and Hiroshima.

The first international routes from Haneda will begin in December, with Beijing selected as the aircraft's first destination outside of Japan, followed by its first long-range flight to Frankfurt in January.

The first production 787 to be delivered, ZA101 - which was unveiled on 6 August and underwent its first engine run on 18 August - is expected to make its first flight around 1 September.