Boeing has delayed the first delivery of the 747-8 Freighter and now expects the first delivery to launch customer Cargolux to take place in...

Boeing has delayed the first delivery of the 747-8 Freighter and now expects the first delivery to launch customer Cargolux to take place in mid-2011, at least six months later than previously planned.

The company also announced steps it is taking to support the new schedule, including adding a fifth aircraft to the flight-test fleet.


Boeing had indicated earlier that, following recent flight-test discoveries, there was a high probability the first 747-8 Freighter delivery would move from the previously planned late-2010 date into 2011. The Boeing 747-8 program had already been delayed a year by Boeing withdrawing design and engineering resources from the program to the troubled Boeing 787 development program.

The second Boeing 747-8 Freighter flight-test aircraft, designated RC 522, flew for the first time on March 14, 2010, successfully completing a two-and-a-half-hour flight. However, Boeing – which decided to add an extra, fifth aircraft to the 747-8F flight-test program to help speed it up – delayed initial delivery of the 747-8F to mid-2011 after several problems were found during flight-testing

It says the new delivery schedule follows a thorough assessment of the expected cumulative impact of the flight-test discoveries, which include a low-frequency vibration in certain flight conditions and an underperforming aileron actuator. According to Boeing, while neither issue requires structural changes to the aircraft, they have led to disruptions to certification testing and Boeing could not offset the disruptions within the prior schedule.

The company does not expect the new 747-8F delivery delay to have a material impact on Boeing’s 2010 financial results.

“We understand the issues encountered in flight test and are working through the solutions,” says Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager, Airplane Programs, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“We recognize our customers are eager to add the 747-8 Freighter to their fleets, and we understand and regret any impact this schedule change may have on their plans to begin service with the airplane,” adds Shanahan. “With that said, the 747-8 Freighter is demonstrating the capabilities our customers need to be successful and we are confident in the value it will bring them upon certification and delivery next year.”