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