CHICAGO, Aug. 19 (UPI) — The biggest jet Boeing has ever produced, the 747-8 freighter, has won Federal Aviation Administration approval to take to the skies, the company announced.
“This is such a great day for everyone on the 747 team,” Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement Friday.
The first 250-foot-long 747-8 is expected to be delivered to Cargolux of Luxembourg next month. It will enter service two years later than originally scheduled, The Seattle Times reported.
The delay resulted mainly because of a late design change to make the aircraft more efficient, which required a change in the wings, the Times said. The company also had to address vibration problems that surfaced in flight tests.
U.S. approval to enter service as a cargo jet — the 747-8 also got the nod from the European Aviation Safety Agency — comes after more than 18 months of flight tests.
Joe Campbell, an analyst with Barclays Capital, estimated Boeing spent $4 billion to develop the jet and reported $2 billion in accounting changes in 2008 and 2009 because of cost overruns.
The company has orders for 78 of the huge cargo planes and 36 orders for a 467-seat passenger version, which is being developed separately.
Boeing stock had declined 37 cents to $58.56 at midday Friday, with the market down.