Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER (B-16715) about ready to take off from Paine Field on its delivery flight on Sunday.

Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER (B-16715) about ready to take off from Paine Field on its delivery flight on Sunday.

Back in July I looked into why three brand new Eva Air Boeing 777’s were just sitting at Paine Field. It turned out they had issues with their Koito seats. Well, “issues” might be an understatement. Turns out not only were the seat’s safety in question, but also Koito’s certification process. So much so there was talk of an air worthiness directive from the FAA to ban the seats in the US.

Boeing and Eva Air has been silent with how these three Boeing 777’s were going to get seats. Last week the aircraft, which has been parked next to the Paine Field tower for months, were moved, prepped and started to take customer test flights (photo of B-16717). Then yesterday, the first of the three Boeing 777’s took its delivery flight to Taiwan (photo). Of course, the big question was what seats are inside the aircraft?

Eva Air obviously doesn’t want to say too much since I am guessing they will take legal action against Koito. Boeing has been staying pretty quiet as well, since they have a policy not to discuss their customers. However, I have been able to confirm that the seats in the aircraft are from Koito.

Beverly Holland with Boeing Communications explained to me that, “Koito Industries works directly with our airline customers. Ever since this issue came to our attention, we have been working closely with our customers who have purchased the seats to make sure the seats are fully compliant to Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) and FAA regulations.”

As reported previously, if the JCAB certifies a seat, the FAA also certifies them through a US/Japan bilateral agreement. Boeing has had a team in Japan helping to make sure the seats are able to become certified. Holland did confirm, “Boeing is committed to helping our customers through this situation.”

Speaking with an Eva PR consultant Mary Graybill, she confirmed that the airline is working with Koito and Boeing to have the seats installed at Paine Field. She wasn’t able to confirm when the aircraft will officially be delivered, but did say that, “all three will be used to serve long-haul and regional routes, in rotation with the B777s EVA is already operating.” By chance of luck, I was at Paine Field on Sunday when I got an email alert stating a Boeing 777 filed a flight plan. Turned out to be one of the Eva Air Boeing 777’s (B-16715) being picked up by Eva pilots and flown to Taiwan. Due to heavy fog, the flight was delayed, but did take off at 2:35pm.

So are the seats safe in the Eva Boeing 777’s? Yes, I think so. Even though Boeing and Eva won’t talk much about what they have done, I would assume that neither would allow the airplanes to transport passengers if they haven’t verified the safety of the seats. It is great for Eva to make money using these Boeing 777’s, but it is disappointing they won’t be parked at Paine Field to spot anymore. At least Paine Field is quickly filling up with other Boeing airplanes to provide plenty of eye candy.

VIDEO OF EVA AIR BOEING 777-300ER (B-16715) on DELIVERY FLIGHT FROM PAINE FIELD taken from the Future of Flight’s Strato Deck

More:
* My photos from Eva Air Boeing 777 delivery flight
* Video from Liz Matzelle on the Boeing 777 taking off

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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2 Comments

My EVA friend in Taiwan told me the 77W’s will go back to TPE empty and then have seats installed there. Looks like Koito has taken cared of most of their certification problem except swith business class seats. EVA will be taking out one row of Premium Laurel class seats from each of the current 77W fleet and have these installed on the new ones. One row of Elites will also be added. Economy seats will not be touched. The “New” configuration will be Premium Laurel-36, Elite-71 and Economy-211 Total=318. Fully certified Koito business class seats will not be available until at least Feb, 2011.

Thanks so much for this update David!! The Koito saga continues…

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