We’re in Barcelona, Spain, for the ISTAT conference, and one of the hot topics at the Sunday night reception is the refusal by Cargolux to take delivery of the first and second 747-8Fs gthat were scheduled for Monday and Wednesday this week.
The companies cited only “contractual issues” that have to be worked out.
We have obtained enough information at the opening night reception to have confidence there is much more at work here than meets the eye. One reader hypothesized that Qatar Airways, which now owns 35% of Cargolux, has a role.
Our information here is that this is indeed the case.
We expect to have a posting on this Monday.
But we are confident there isn’t some new, previously undisclosed issue about the 747-8F’s performance shortfalls that have been well known to Boeing and customers for well over a year.
Scott, what I don’t understand is what would Al Baker gain by this, if it is indeed driven by him/Qatar? Hope you can answer this on monday.
It doesn’t make sense. QR only has 5 freighters, all modern A-300-600Fs and 2 B-777-200LRFs, so I doesn’t make sense QR would not need any B-747-8Fs, unless they are expanding their cargo business. CV has 13 B-747-8Fs on order, with two ready for delivery this week. Is only the first scheduled delivery (9/19) delayed, and the second (9/21) still scheduled?
The only way this makes sense to me for Al Baker pushing the CV Board of Directors to axe the deal is if the real issue is with GE and not Boeing.
A significant part of the 747-8’s performance miss is due to the GEnx2B engine. GE has a PiP planned to address this, but it will not be in place until 2013.
A significant part of the 787-8’s performance miss is due to the GEnx1B engine. GE has just had PiP I certified to address part of it, but PiP II (and perhaps even a PiP III) are not due until 2012 or even 2013.
QR’s 787-8s have GEnx1B power and the first tranche will be delivered with only PiP I in place.
So perhaps, and I admit I am seriously stretching here, that AAB is trying to send a message to GE through CV about the GEnx’s issues.
The irony here is that Cargolux got the first 747-400F built [line number 968, LX-ICV] in November 1993 because the original customer Air France could not take it when it was ready for delivery earlier in 1993. There was nothing wrong with the airplane – AF was having financial problems at the time.
It looks like;
1. What’s changed is the new, more assertive, management at Cargolux.
2. Cargolux are not happy with the 747-8 situation, think they have a robust case against Boeing and have decided that they won’t have a better opportunity to get a remedy from Boeing than now, while Boeing and the rest of the world are focused on Cargolux and the new 747.
3. Cargolux still want the 747, otherwise they would have canceled or deferred their order.
I think most likely they are seeking more compensation from Boeing for mucking them around earlier. It’s possible they want later improvements to be retrofitted to their early models or they are looking to defer the deliveries with compensation.
While GE produce the engines that are responsible for the greater part of the performance shortfall, I am guessing Boeing is liable for meeting the overall performance criteria.
But most new airplane models and engines don’t meet the performance specs for the first few airplanes built and delivered. In recent times this is true for the B-787 and A-380. But after the first few airplanes delivered they did, usually through some PIP. CV should have known this and should also know that sooner or later their delivered airplanes would be brought up to specs. So why is the B-747-8 any different? I am assuming here that both Boeing and GE have been working on this problem.
I hear that the -2B version for the 747-8 has less priority than the -1B for the 787. The PIPs might not come in fast enough for Cargolux’s liking… it is not like Boeing/GE knew they come in short only last week, but if they put the -2B PIPs on the back-burner concentrating on the ones for the -1B, it might be years before the -2B engine/747 A/C is up to spec?