The contract covers the current 737 jets as well as the next generation MAX jumbo jets.
In a development that has been termed by industry experts as boosting competition, Boeing Co has said it has finalized on a new aircraft seat supplier for its 737 jumbo jet.
Boeing has said it will buy aircraft seats directly from LIFT by Encore, based out of Huntington Beach, California. This is a clear break from its earlier practice of allowing airlines to purchase seats, which led to completion delays since the seats were not delivered in time.
Both parties have planned to announce the agreement on Tuesday at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.
Although it has already 11 approved economy seat manufacturers, LIFT will be the sole supplier from which it will source the seats directly for its current generation of 737NG and 737 MAX jumbo jets.
Recently with the demand of aircrafts increasing manifolds, suppliers are hard pressed to deliver on time. Delivery delays have played foul with the production queues at both Airbus and Boeing.
Last year, Zodiac had struggled to keep up with its delivery schedules and had even issued a rare profit warning after missing several deadlines.
As per AlixPartners, a consulting firm, Zodiac and BE Aerospace, together supply two thirds of the global seat market worth around $4.6 billion a year.
“It appears Boeing is warning the two main incumbents that it isn’t satisfied with their current performance,” said Phil Toy, a managing director at AlixPartners.
Although LIFT by EnCore has yet to deliver even a single seat, its founders, Jim Downey and Tom McFarland are industry veterans who had sold their previous seat and interior venture, known as C&D Aerospace, to Zodiac in 2005.
LIFT will begin delivering the new seats, known as “tourist class” in mid-2017. It will design the seat in consultation with Boeing so that it is in line with the structure and weight of the new 737 and integrates smoothly with the new “Sky Interior” cabin design.
Boeing said its strong supply chain and the LIFT seat would “provide customers the stability and reliability they have come to expect from the 737.”