By Andy Sambidge
European airline part owned by Qatar Airways is first to take delivery of new aircraft
Europe's Cargolux Airlines, which is part-owned by Qatar Airways, has taken delivery of the first Boeing 747-8 freighter, the US plane maker has said.
The airplane departed for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where the new freighter will receive its first cargo load, destined for Cargolux headquarters in Luxembourg, Boeing said in a statement.
Cargolux initially declined to take the 747-8 because its fuel burn fell 2.7 percent below guarantees, said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker last week.
Cargolux made the decision September 16, three days before it was to accept the planes and about three months after Qatar took a 35 percent stake.
Cargolux has ordered a total of 13 747-8 freighters – its 10-airplane launch order in 2005 and a follow-on order for three additional airplanes placed in 2007.
Boeing, Cargolux and Nippon Cargo Airlines announced the initial orders for the 747-8 freighter in November 2005 and the latest delivery comes nearly 18 years after Cargolux was the recipient of the first Boeing 747-400 freighter, which went on to become the workhorse and standard of the air cargo industry.
"This is a great day for The Boeing Company and for Cargolux," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
"The 747-8 freighter is truly the queen of the skies for the 21st century, and will continue the promise of the 747 for decades to come."
The airplane will be a perfect addition to the Cargolux fleet, added Frank Reimen, Cargolux president and CEO.
"The new Boeing 747-8 freighter will help Cargolux maintain its position as an industry leader that we built upon our 747-400 freighter operation," he added.
Eight customers have ordered a total of 75 747-8 freighters.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.