Lufthansa says new Boeing freighter plane delayed

FRANKFURT Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:01pm EDT

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Boeing (BA.N) has delayed the delivery of Lufthansa's (LHAG.DE) first 777F freighter plane, just a few days before it was due to land amid ceremony in Frankfurt, while the aircraft maker carries out minor repairs to the left wing.

Lufthansa's cargo unit had been due to unveil the plane at a ceremony in Frankfurt on Friday, but it said on Tuesday it was postponing the event because of the repairs.

"During the handover today it was determined that the slats have to be fixed," a Lufthansa Cargo spokesman said, referring to the slats on the wings used to give more lift to a plane at slower speeds.

"There's a very small gap between the slats and this is bigger than permitted by manufacturing tolerance," he said, adding that the company expected a delay of only a couple of days.

The minor delay with an important cargo customer comes as Boeing deals with a series of problems with its new Dreamliner 787 passenger jet.

The company last week reported a surprising 12 percent jump in quarterly profit and raised its full-year forecast on soaring commercial aircraft production and margins, sending its shares to an all-time high.

But any optimism has been tempered by continuing problems with the 787, grounded by regulators for more than three months earlier this year due to a battery problem.

The first 777 freighter was delivered in 2009. It uses the same wing as the 777 passenger version which has been in service since the 1990s with over 1,000 of the aircraft delivered.

Lufthansa has ordered five 777F aircraft, which each cost around $300 million at list prices.

Boeing officials declined to make any immediate comment.

(Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach and Peter Maushagen; Additional reporting by Alwyn Scott in Seattle; Writing by Victoria Bryan; editing by Patrick Graham)

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