Cargolux confirms that it has rejected the planned first deliveries of the -8F due to “unresolved contractual issues.”
The first twowere due to be delivered to launch customer Cargolux on Sept. 19 and 21, but the carrier says its board decided on Sept. 16 to reject these deliveries. A financing deal with JP Morgan has been put on hold, and Cargolux says it may have to look to “source alternative capacity” ahead of its high season “in the event that the [contractual] issues cannot be resolved in a timely manner.”
The rejection decision was made at the first meeting of Cargolux’s new-look board, after Qatar recently closed a deal for a 35% equity stake in the company. The board now has three Qatar representatives, including Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker. At its first meeting, the new board “reviewed the financial and business situation of the company and evaluated potential measures to strengthen its competitive position in the current volatile market climate,” the carrier says in a statement.
Cargolux was full of praise for the 747-8F as recently as Sept. 2, when it announced the first delivery dates. At the time, Cargolux CEO Frank Reimen said that while the program has “hit a few bumps on the journey from order to delivery,” the 747-8F “sets new standards in efficiency” and features “greater fuel economy and the lowest operating cost of any large freighter.” The aircraft will be “the cornerstone of our growth and profitability for the next decades and a genuine industry game changer,” Reimen said. A 747-8F was flown to Luxembourg in June, following its display at the Paris air show.
The carrier became the launch customer of the 747-8F when it signed a contract for 10 aircraft in November 2005. Cargolux placed a follow-on order for three more aircraft in March 2007 and holds two options and 10 purchase rights. First delivery was originally slated for late 2009, but was delayed for almost two years following program setbacks.