Continental taking new 737s with B/E seats after Koito debacle

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Aircraft seats manufactured by B/E Aerospace are being fitted to new-build Boeing 737-800s destined for Continental Airlines, after the carrier suffered delivery delays due to Japanese seat maker Koito's fabrication of test results on seats.

"Eight Continental 737s have been delayed because of Koito seat issues. Boeing is providing us with an interim seat made by B/E Aerospace and we expect to take all of the aircraft by the end of August," says a Continental spokeswoman.

Earlier this year Koito admitted it falsified test results on as many as 150,000 seats on 1,000 aircraft in the world fleet. Evidence from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) highlighted three areas where Koito fabricated results - 16g and 9g test data and flammability data.

Continental says the impact of the Koito problem on the carrier's flight schedule was minimal since it operates a large number of 737s "and developed alternate plans such as increasing aircraft utilization and rescheduling optional modification work such as painting and seat reconfigurations".

But Continental is not the only carrier affected. Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International and others have experienced delivery delays due to Koito's deception.

EASA last year withdrew production organisation approval for Koito, effectively prohibiting Airbus from delivering aircraft equipped with Koito seats. Boeing, meanwhile, worked with the embattled manufacturer to ensure that testing of new seats is performed correctly. Boeing is reportedly no longer offering Koito seats for its aircraft.

The US airframer could not be immediately reached for comment.