Airlines are fretting over the costs of carrying out checks on more than 100,000 potentially faulty passenger seats after safety authorities proposed a crackdown.
The safety order comes seven months after Japanese seat manufacturer Koito Industries admitted to altering their designs then faking the safety test results, Airwise.com reported.
Shares in the company plunged 33 per cent after it said it had been told by Japan’s transport ministry to ‘improve business management’ over the falsification of fire resistance and strength data on plane seats.
Last week, US and European agencies provisionally called for worldwide check on Koito seats, expected to affect over 150,000 seats on 1,000 Boeing and Airbus passenger jets.
However, authorities stopped short of issuing emergency directives, implying they were not certain whether the seats were dangerous.
"The fault is not with (airlines) but with the manufacturer. From that point of view, I would be surprised if the airlines would be happy to pick up the cost. The real worry is that there will be some kind of legalistic ban on using the seats altogether and having to scrap them," spokesman for the Association of European Airlines in Brussels, David Henderson said.
The US Federal Aviation Administration estimated the cost of the exercise to US airlines alone at USD$875,000.
Airlines buy seats separately from the rest of the aircraft but usually have them installed by the plane maker. Seat costs range from USD$2,300 in economy to USD$150,000 for a luxurious lie-flat seat in first class, the FAA said.
Koito started business in 1915 making lenses for railway signal lamps and began making car headlamps in the 1950s. It also makes seats for Japan’s high-speed bullet trains.
Among major clients, Koito lists Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Continental Airlines.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C