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Delivery Postponed for New Boeing 747 Cargo Jet

Overdue freighter is the largest plane ever built by Boeing

Boeing Co.’s first delivery of its largest-ever plane, the 747-8 freighter, has been postponed by the buyer due to “unresolved” problems, though a spokesman for the supplier assured that it will resolve the matter. Luxembourg-based Cargolux Airlines International SA was due to receive the first of the 13, new-model cargo jets on Monday, September 19.

“Boeing will not deliver our first freighter … as previously announced,” Boeing’s spokesman Jim Proulx said in a statement. “We continue to work with Cargolux and look forward to delivering its airplanes.” Another Boeing source, v.p. of marketing Randy Tinseth, reported on a company blog site that the problem is “contractual,” seeming to indicate the concern is not related to the design or performance of the new 747. Cargolux has not commented on the matter.

The 747-8 earned U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification earlier this month. It is the fourth generation of the wide-body jet, first announced in 2005, and with a longer fuselage and redesigned wings. Two design variants are offered, and in addition to being the largest 747 yet the 747-8 is the largest commercial aircraft built in the U.S., and its commercial airline version is the world’s longest passenger aircraft.

But, the 747-8 program has endured production and design delays, and is now about two years behind its original schedule. It’s unknown when the new delivery date for the cargo variant will be; deliveries of the passenger model are to begin in 2012.

Boeing has reported a total of 78 orders for the 747-8 freighter.

Cargolux is a global freight hauling service that operates 15 747 freighters.

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