Singapore Air A380 Delivery Delayed as Japanese Seatmaker Misses Deadline
Singapore Airlines Ltd., the world’s second-largest carrier by market value, said the introduction of its 12th Airbus SAS A380 has been delayed after Koito Industries Ltd. failed to deliver business-class seats on time.
The plane had been due for delivery this quarter and “has been delayed as a result of the issues that Koito has faced,” Nicholas Ionides, a spokesman for the carrier, said in an e-mail reply to Bloomberg queries. He said the delay isn’t affecting the airline’s current operations and he expects the plane to arrive before the end of March.
The postponement is the second time Singapore Air has pushed back introduction of an A380 because of late Koito seat deliveries. Rivals All Nippon Airways Co., Continental Airlines Inc. and Thai Airways International Pcl have also suffered delays after Koito in February admitted it falsified test results and made unauthorized design changes to its seats for at least a decade.
“We are working closely with Airbus, Koito and the relevant regulatory authorities and expect the issues to be resolved soon,” Ionides said in the e-mail.
Koito Industries spokesman Hidetsugu Matsudaira had no comment on the Singapore Air statement.
Koito rose 3.5 percent to 150 yen at the 3 p.m. close of Tokyo trading. Parent Koito Manufacturing Co., part-owned by Toyota Motor Corp., advanced 0.2 percent to 1,270 yen. Singapore Air fell 0.6 percent to S$15.70 at the 5 p.m. close in Singapore trading.
Singapore Air’s A380, configured to carry 471 passengers, is fitted with 60 business-class seats on the second level of the double-decker aircraft, according to its website. The carrier received its 11th superjumbo in July, six months late because of the seat glitch.
The airline plans to operate its 12th A380 between Singapore and Los Angeles, via Narita, Japan, when it’s delivered, Ionides said today. The aircraft will replace the Boeing Co. 747-400 currently used on the route.
Koito said in April it would stop taking orders for plane seats for as long as three years to focus on maintenance, including checking about 1,000 commercial planes in which its seats are installed. The Yokohama-based seat manufacturer paid 3.6 billion yen ($43 million) in compensation in the year ended in March and expects to pay another 3.3 billion yen this fiscal year.
Thai Airways, Thailand’s largest carrier, said in October it’s seeking as much as $180 million in compensation from the seatmaker.
Koito also makes business-class seats for Singapore Air’s Airbus A340-500s, as well as first-class seats for its Boeing Co. 777-300ERs, according to Ionides.
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