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Sun, Oct 02, 2011

Boeing 747-8 Deal Could Be In The Works

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.

Boeing Photo

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 delivery.

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.

FMI: www.boeing.com, www.qatarairways.com/US

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