Deliveries to Continental Airlines of Boeing aircraft have been delayed as a result of an escalating controversy surrounding seat manufacturer Koito Industries.
A Continental spokeswoman confirms that two Boeing 737-800s scheduled to be delivered to the carrier in January "have been delayed" and the carrier expects the Koito situation "could affect more deliveries during the year".
Koito this week admitted it falsified test results on seats. Some 150,000 seats on 1,000 aircraft in the world fleet are said to be impacted. Regulators have not yet issued airworthiness directives, but EASA is not ruling out the possibility of such a measure.
But while aircraft fitted with Koito seats may ultimately need to be modified or removed - depending on forthcoming tests - Continental is currently dealing with aircraft delivery delays as shipment of new Koito seats have stopped.
"We continue to work with Koito and Boeing on the issue," says the spokeswoman. She confirms Koito seats are present in both first and economy-class cabins of its Boeing aircraft.
Continental also works with other seat makers, including B/E Aerospace, she says.
A dedicated advisory board involving Airbus, Boeing, Koito, Japanese authorities and three aircraft operators have been working to address quality control issues at Koito's plant, reveals an operators information telex from Airbus.
In the January document, obtained by ATI, Airbus says production organisation approval (POA) for Koito was pulled last September "meaning that Koito cannot produce seat or seat parts for airborne use".
Flightglobal's ACAS database shows that as many as 43 operators carry Koito seats. ACAS indicates that Continental has Koito seats on its Boeing 737s, 757s, 767s and 777s.