In a posting by Scott Hamilton this morning, Qatar Airways and it's chief executive Akbar Al-Baker, who have a 35% stake in Cargolux, are allegedly forcing Boeing back to negotiating compensation not just over 747-8F performance shortfalls but also for more compensation for Qatar Airways 787 delivery delays. The later issue was resolved earlier with Al-Baker proclaiming that he was satisfied with the results of the negotiations at the time.
Apparently he has has a change of heart with regards to the compensation thus keeping true to his U-Turn Al nickname in the industry. Now mind you that the customers of the 747-8F knew for over year of the shortfalls in performance of the 747-8F and have already or in the process of negotiating compensation because of the issues that were uncovered during flight testing. Additionally Boeing and engine maker GE are in process of developing performance improvement packages (PIP) for the aircraft's GEnx-2B engines that would be backfitted into the earlier models of the aircraft and would allow them to be flown to the initial contracted performance specs (or very close to those specs).
If Al-Baker is indeed using Cargolux's 747-8F as a ploy to get more compensation from Boeing, he is playing a very dangerous game. 1) He is putting his investment in Cargolux at risk as they do need these aircraft to remain competitive especially when Cargolux's competitors will take delivery. 2) Boeing can say enough is enough and play hardball. Airbus does not have an alternative to the 747-8F and that would anger Cargolux's other shareholders (Al-Baker only owns 35% of the company) as one company is being used to benefit another company.
How this plays out will provide interesting aviation theater which Al-Baker loves. In the meanwhile the 787 looks like will be delivered first and I also don't preclude the ability of Boeing to deliver the 747-8F to other customers who have a firm contract in place with compensation.
Scott Hamilton: Cargolux 747-8F dispute linked to late Qatar 787 deliveries
Flightblogger: Cargolux 747-8F delivery becomes "highly unlikely" this week