Today as I’m sure you’ve heard, Boeing announced a schedule change for the 747-8 Freighter.
We’re moving delivery of the first freighter to mid-year 2011.
Decisions like this are always disappointing, and most certainly always difficult to make.
We had previously indicated that as a result of some discoveries from flight test it was likely we’d move delivery of the 747-8 Freighter into next year.
Today’s announcement comes after a thorough assessment of the impact of those discoveries, which we determined would affect certification testing.
The 747-8 Freighter in flight test over western Washington.
To support the new schedule, we’ll be taking a number of steps, including adding a 5th airplane to the flight test fleet.
Something important I want to point out is that the 747-8 is a complex undertaking. This is not just a derivative.
The -8 flies the new General Electric GEnx-2B67 engines, and has a new wing design with advanced airfoil, an improved flight deck with new features, extensive use of advanced materials and on the passenger version a new interior.
So while the shape is familiar, this is virtually a new 747.
Finding and resolving issues is why we flight test our new airplanes. In this case, the process is doing what is intended, so that in the end we’re going to deliver to our customers the world’s most efficient freighter.