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American looks to replace maker of business-class seats

The business class seat, otherwise known as a premium suite inside American Airlines’ Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner aircraft.(Star-Telegram/Ron Jenkins)
The business class seat, otherwise known as a premium suite inside American Airlines’ Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner aircraft.(Star-Telegram/Ron Jenkins) Star-Telegram

American Airlines said it will no longer use Zodiac to provide business-class seats for two of its bigger aircraft after the seatmaker suffered production delays.

The Fort Worth-based carrier is looking for a different supplier of business-class seats on its Boeing 787-900 and 777-200 retrofits.

“Zodiac has not been able to deliver new seats in a timely fashion according to the terms of its contract,” American spokeswoman Laura Nedbal said. “Our business suite supplied by Zodiac is an excellent product with good reviews, but the seats are far behind schedule and continue to cause significant delays to our plans to improve the travel experience for our customers.”

American’s first Dreamliner delivery was delayed last year, partly because of production problems with business-class seats. The delays continued through the spring, causing Boeing to park two of American’s finished Dreamliners as it waited for seats.

Although owned by a French company, Zodiac Seats U.S. has its headquarters in Gainesville and is one of the world’s largest commercial seatmakers.

The airline said it will select a vendor in time to install new seats on the Boeing 787-900, which is scheduled to be delivered in late 2016.

American said it will use the existing Zodiac business seat on its remaining Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner aircraft and expects to have 13 Dreamliners in its fleet by the end of the year. Thirteen Boeing 777-200s with a 260-seat configuration are being retrofitted with the Zodiac business seat.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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