Launch Customer Refuses New 747-8F

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The launch customer for Boeing's new 747-8F is refusing to take delivery of the first airplane, prompting cancellation of a ceremony that was scheduled for Monday. Cargolux hasn't responded to media inquiries about why it's turning the aircraft down but Boeing officials said on Saturday there was a contract dispute between the planemaker and the customer, a large Luxembourg-based cargo carrier. Cargolux has ordered 13 copies of the new-generation 747. "We have unresolved issues between ourselves and Cargolux," Boeing spokesperson Jim Proulx said in a statement. "We are working with our customer to determine a date for delivery."

The embarrassing situation is the latest setback in the company's commercial aircraft division and there has been speculation that it might be related to the delay in delivery of the first plane. Manufacturers normally give discounts if they're late delivering planes and the fracas could be over the amount Cargolux wants returned. The 747-8F was about two years behind schedule. Regardless, Boeing says it's confident the issues will be resolved and a new delivery date set for the first and second aircraft.