Early Boeing 747-8s Not Well-Received

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First Cargolux Airlines on Sept. 16 decided to delay taking delivery of the first two 747-8 freighters and now, for separate reasons, Atlas Air has canceled orders for three of jets. The 747-8 was originally scheduled to enter service two years ago but early flight tests led to a wing redesign. Cargolux based its decision on contractual issues. Atlas says the long delays and performance considerations motivated their decision. Regardless of the customer, as a result of the redesign, the very first 747-8 aircraft produced fall slightly short of the expectations originally set for the jet. But Boeing does have a solution.

Atlas expects that the aircraft that make up the remainder of its order will be better-performing than the earliest models. The company has not cancelled all the aircraft in its order and Boeing has shifted deliveries to send later models to Atlas, this year. As a result, Atlas will still take three of jets this year, four more in 2012 and two in 2013. Boeing has arranged for what were Atlas' original three aircraft to enter lease service with British Airways. According to Boeing, all the 747-8s offer double-digit improvements in fuel efficiency when compared to its predecessor, the 747-400. And retrofits will continue to improve the aircraft's specifications.