UPDATE 1: Break out your Bunsen Burners, the FAA Koito AD has hit!

Updated to note that the EASA AD hit this morning.


With everyone from Boeing to Koito Industries to Continental Airlines begging more time, and some – like the Association of European Airlines (AEA) and the Association for Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) – suggesting the measure is unwarranted, the US FAA has issued its airworthiness directive (AD) to operators with seats manufactured by Koito Industries.

You’ll recall that Koito did the dastardly deed of fabricating test data on some 150,000 seats in the world fleet, going so far as to rubber stamp documents with a fake Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) seal of approval.

Read the FAA’s AD here. As expected – and underscored by the mass of opposing viewpoints – the AD impacts a heck of a lot of folks, and could cost hundreds of millions of dollars (so the little RWG estimate was on target eh?)

And how about the impact of retrofitting new in-flight entertainment and in-seat power? I’d love to see some estimates for that.

(P.S. Page 38 addresses the Bunsen Burner test, which caught my eye because I used to be good at science! Well, I liked to play with the flame. P.P.S. Koito seats are naturally also subject to an EASA AD, which doesn’t completely mesh with the FAA’s AD. Hello confusion.)

Related links:

Koito aircraft seat mess gets even messier

VIDEO: Boeing still offering Koito seats

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to UPDATE 1: Break out your Bunsen Burners, the FAA Koito AD has hit!

  1. alloycowboy June 2, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    Hey Mary,

    I have a question for you? What is the life expectancy of the average airline seat? How often do these seats get changed out and the cabins interiors refreshed?

  2. Mary Kirby June 2, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Some airlines keep seats installed for as much as 20 years! There are plenty of 9g babies floating around out there. This AD is fascinating on so many levels, including the fact that some stakeholders want seats to simply pass less-than-16g muster! I’m surprised at their candor, to be frank.

  3. alloycowboy June 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Thanks for reply Mary….. What I found interesting is that the AD mention Airbus and Boeing but did not mention Bombardier or Embraer. Did Bombardier or Embraer not sell any aircraft with with Koito seats? Also I am wondering how many airlines are just going to return aircraft to their “leasing companies” saying thanks but no thanks? I guess all these questions will get answer in due course. Thanks!

  4. Mary Kirby June 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Bombardier and Embraer’s aircraft catalogues are more limited. The new CRJ1000, for instance, only offers seats from C&D Zodiac and B/E Aerospace. Airbus and most especially Boeing offered Koito seats across great heaping swaths of their portfolios for years. Koito seats are known in the industry as being some of the least expensive. I guess you get what you pay for. Your point about leasing companies is bang on. Who pays the price in the end? Few people want to talk about this issue on record. Why? Because all it will take is a single crash of an aircraft carrying Koito seats – where survivability is questioned – and the seriousness of Koito’s actions (and those of carriers who drag their feet on replacements!) will be evident to all. I’m amazed at some of the objections to the AD. Yes, retrofits will be costly and time-consuming. But rolling the dice on safety is a gamble nobody should make.