American Airlines Inc. will replace Zodiac Aerospace as the supplier of premium business-class seats for its Boeing Co. 787-9 Dreamliners and some 777-200s because of delays in deliveries.
“Zodiac is far behind schedule and continues to cause significant delays to our plans to improve the travel experience for our customers,” said Laura Nedbal, a spokeswoman for American. The carrier has canceled all future orders for Zodiac seats on those aircraft, she said.
American’s move underscores the rift with France’s Zodiac over a shortage of lie-flat seats that has forced Boeing to slow handovers of the airline’s Dreamliners. Zodiac has struggled since late 2014 to keep pace with surging demand for the upscale berths used on long-haul overseas flights.
A telephone call for comment to the company’s Zodiac Seats US in Gainesville, Texas, wasn’t immediately returned.
Late seats delayed the handover of American’s first two 787 Dreamliners to early this year from late 2014. Two more jets were parked in California desert storage after they were pulled from production lines to await laborious retrofitting because of the missing seating.
American ordered 20 787-8s from Boeing and received its 11th aircraft Thursday. It should have 13 of the model by year- end, Nedbal said. American’s first 787-9 — the second, larger version of the Dreamliner — is set for delivery by the end of 2016.
The program to refit the airline’s 777-200s used on international flights is a year behind schedule.
“We committed to our customers we want to give them a fully lie-flat seat experience when they fly internationally, so it’s just unacceptable at this point,” Nedbal said.
Zodiac will remain the supplier of business-class suites on the 787-8 Dreamliners, and will complete retrofitting 13 777-200s with the new seats, Nedbal said. Another 34 777-200s being reconfigured to carry more seats will be split between Zodiac and a new company, she said.
The decision to seek a new vendor was reported earlier Thursday on .www.runwaygirlnetwork.com
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