Boeing Loses Five 747-8 Orders as Cargo Slump Continues

CHICAGO TheStreet) -- With the air cargo market trending down, the move away from Boeing's ( BA) prized new freighter, the 747-8F, is continuing.

Most recently, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise agreed to covert five of its 15 orders for the 747-8F to orders for the smaller Boeing 777, according to a change posted to Boeing's orders and deliveries website on Thursday.

The aircraft will be operated by Emirates, already the world's largest 777 operator. "This conversion allows the airline to maximize synergies with its current fleet," Boeing said.

The conversion means that DAE now has 20 Boeing unfilled orders for ten 747-8Fs and ten 777s.

The 747-8F, delayed for two years, had the misfortune to come to market last month as the global air cargo market was slumping. Recently, global cargo carriers have been declining or converting their orders.

Cathay Pacific, the world's largest international air cargo carrier, reconsidered an order for ten 747-8 freighters, but Boeing assuaged the airline with concessions on a recent order for eight 777 freighters, Reuters reported recently.

Atlas Air ( AAWW) said last month that it had exercised its right to terminate delivery of three "early build" 747-8s because of lengthy delays and performance considerations. But Atlas is still taking nine aircraft by 2012.

Also, Korean Air Lines had a delivery scheduled for August, but now prefers to wait until the second quarter of 2012, an industry source said.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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