Delivery Was Delayed After Qatar Airways Acquired A 35 Percent
Stake In Cargolux.
Boeing was all set for a grand celebration of the first delivery
of the first of its stretched 747-8 freighters to launch customer
Cargolux in September when the party was abruptly cancelled. The
plug was pulled immediately after Qatar Airways, which has been
waiting for Boeing to deliver the Dreamliner, acquired a 35 percent
stake in the Luxembourg-based freight company.
But a visit by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker to Seattle for a
delivery ceremony of a 777-200LR is being viewed by the aerospace
industry as the beginning of a potential thaw in the now-frozen
Al Baker has been equally critical of Airbus and Boeing, which
he once described as being run by "bean counters and lawyers,"
according to a report from Reuters. Any deal for delivery of the 747-8
freighter would need Al Baker's blessing.
Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx told the news service that the
company is still optimistic about the ongoing talks between the
planemaker and Cargolux, but would not offer any details about the
talks. But the delay has caused morale problems at the plant where
the plane is built, as well as concern about revenue and cash flow
in the corporate offices. Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings has also
cancelled orders for three of the dozen 747-8s it had ordered and
were already built. Each is valued at about $300 million.
Qatar Airways is also in negotiations over an increase in it
order for A380 airliners.