Boeing delays 747-8 freighter delivery
Boeing announced last Thursday it has delayed production of its 747-8 stretch freighter from the fourth quarter, with first delivery of the new plane now scheduled for the middle of 2011.
In an effort to hit the new completion target, the company said it has added a fifth airplane to its test fleet.
The Chicago-headquartered airplane manufacturer said test flights uncovered low-frequency vibration in certain flight conditions and an underperforming aileron actuator.
'While neither issue requires structural changes to the airplane, they have led to disruptions to certification testing, which the program was unable to offset within the prior schedule,' Boeing said.
The 747-8F is 18.3 feet longer than the 747-400 freighter with a 154-ton maximum payload and a range of 4,390 nautical miles. It is cheaper to operate and can hold 16 percent more cargo volume than the 747-400F.
'We understand the issues encountered in flight test and are working through the solutions,” said Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager for airplane programs at Boeing's Commercial Airplanes division. “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. 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.”
Boeing said the delay would not hurt its 2010 financial results.
Cargolux is the launch customer for the 747-8F.
Boeing has suffered more than two years of delays for its 787 Dreamliner, a long-range mid-size aircraft under development.