ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
THAI Aiways to sue seatmaker
THAI is soon expected to name legal firm, Baker & McKenzie, as its legal adviser to pursue litigation against the troubled Yokohama company that is partly owned by Toyota Motor, according to THAI insiders.
The airline is seeking, $470 million for lost business opportunities resulting from its inability to deploy 11 aircraft as planned, plus $80 million for actual costs caused by the delivery delay and finding replacement suppliers.
THAI is starting legal proceedings after Koito notified the airline that it could not meet a deadline extension of September 20 set three months earlier because it was unable to obtain certification for its seats from Japanese and European safety authorities.
Koito has been accused of falsifying test results, omitting part of the test process and using figures from past tests.
Its problems reportedly affected 150,000 seats for more than 1,000 Airbus and Boeing planes owned by 32 airlines in 24 countries, causing delays to aircraft deliveries to those carriers. Koito's failure has delayed the delivery of five new A330-300s to THAI by seven to 11 months.
In addition, the delay has affected the installation of economy class seats for THAI's six Airbus A380 double-deckers. Koito recently told THAI that it is prepared to offer compensation only for actual expenditure, but not the claimed amount of opportunity losses.
Koito's confirmation that it could not meet the September 20 deadline led the airline to formally name Germany's ZIM Flugsitz GmbH as a replacement supplier of economy class seats for the 11 aircraft.
In July, THAI agreed a 432-million-baht contract with ZIM in case Koito could not meet its commitment.
The five new A330-300s have been standing idle in Europe. But now the first of the mid-size, twin-engine jets will have its seats installed by ZIM and enter service in February next year, with the rest coming into service in the following period.
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