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Lufthansa commits to 747-8 but braces for possible delay

German flag-carrier Lufthansa is braced for a possible further delay to its Boeing 747-8 aircraft in the wake of the newly-disclosed problems with the 787.

The carrier, which has an order for 20 passenger 747-8s, is remaining committed to the type. It is not seeking to defer deliveries of the 747-8 or its Airbus A380s.

But chief financial officer Stephan Gemkow, in an investor presentation on 25 June, said the "quite spectacular" revelation about the latest 787 delay was likely to have a knock-on effect on the larger Boeing's development.

"I'm sure the delay of the 787 will mean that they have to pull in more engineering resources, and that will [mean] even further delays, as a consequence, for the 747-8," says Gemkow. "I would not be surprised to learn this some weeks and months in the future."

He says that, despite the economic slowdown, the carrier has "not undertaken any effort so far to postpone any delivery".

Lufthansa vice-president of strategy Harald Deprosse backs Gemkow's statements, saying that the carrier is "sticking to its decision" to acquire the 747-8 and adding that there is "no discussion of a different development".

Deprosse says the airline is to receive five A380 aircraft next year for operations from Frankfurt Main and that the A380 summer 2010 schedule is on track.

Lufthansa has been examining about 20 destinations for the type and while it has not confirmed its first routes, a source familiar with the strategy indicates that New York will be a priority.

Deprosse says that Lufthansa's A380 plans initially centre on delivery of 10 aircraft. "There are further five aircraft which were part of the original deal, back in 2001, when Lufthansa ordered 15 A380s," he says.

"But it's a mixture, it's a firm order for the first 10 and there is an option for a final decision for number 11 to number 15. This has never changed, this was the original negotiation in the deal that we had with Airbus."

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