Exclusive: Jetmakers intervene on Zodiac seat delivery delays

Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:50pm EDT
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By Tim Hepher and Alwyn Scott

PARIS/SEATTLE (Reuters) - Planemakers Airbus (AIR.PA: Quote) and Boeing (BA.N: Quote) have stepped up pressure on French supplier Zodiac Aerospace (ZODC.PA: Quote) over persistent delays in the delivery of aircraft seats that are disrupting jetliner assembly, industry sources said.

Paris-based Zodiac has been wrestling for months with missed deadlines for seat production, which it blames on its engineering resources being overloaded. A strike last autumn at a Zodiac plant in Texas also affected shipments.

In December, the first delivery of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to American Airlines slipped into 2015 because of missing seats.

In January, Zodiac said the situation had improved, but that the difficulties facing its seats business were lasting longer than expected and would impact its fiscal first-half results.

Now, leading planemakers are spearheading corrective action, including sending in teams to help tackle the delays, amid new concerns over a Zodiac plant in California that makes seat shells, industry sources said.

The separate measures come as the delays cast doubt on the timing of a number of other upcoming jet deliveries.

Zodiac declined to comment. Shares in the company fell 4.3 percent, their biggest one-day fall since June 1, 2012.

Boeing's most senior production executive told Reuters that Zodiac had failed to prepare adequately for the ramp-up.   Continued...