October 1 - It seems unlikely that launch customer Cargolux will receive the first 747-8 Freighter until the middle of next year following Boeing's announcement of a third delay in the construction programme.

The company also announced steps it is taking to support the new schedule, including adding a fifth airplane to the flight-test fleet.

The company previously indicated that, following recent flight-test discoveries, there was a high probability the first747-8 Freighter delivery would move into 2011. The new delivery schedule follows a thorough assessment of the expected cumulative impact of these discoveries, which include a low-frequency vibration in certain flight conditions and an underperforming aileron actuator. While neither issue requires structural changes to the airplane, they have led to disruptions to certification testing, which the programme was unable to offset within the prior schedule.

Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager, Airplane Programs, Boeing Commercial Airplanes said: "We recognize our customers are eager to add the 747-8 Freighter to their fleets, and we understand and regret any impact this schedule change may have on their plans to begin service with the airplane."