- Boeing is the world's largest aerospace company.
- Deal would bring more seat-design in-house.
- Boeing just reported record aircraft deliveries.
Boeing and Adient have agreed to form a joint venture to develop and manufacture airplane seats, the companies said, a deal that could give the aerospace giant a greater footprint in outfitting record numbers of airplanes its selling.
Boeing, the largest aerospace company in the world, is teaming up with Adient, which is better known for manufacturing automotive seats. Boeing will have a minority stake of 49.99 percent in the venture, it said.
Airlines are racing to outfit their planes with luxurious cabins for first- and business-class customers. But delays in seat deliveries from suppliers have been a headache for airlines looking to entice more high-paying passengers — a key source of revenue — to fly in spacious pods and suites.
"Seats have been a persistent challenge for our customers, the industry and Boeing, and we are taking action to help address constraints in the market," said Kevin Schemm, chief financial officer for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The two companies, in particular, are eyeing complex, lie-flat seats that can cost as much as a Ferrari.
“The front-of-a-plane business, full-flat business class is kind of our initial entree,” says Adient Chief Executive Officer Bruce McDonald.
Boeing said the venture was prompted by slow seat production and a capacity crunch that has delayed jet deliveries and frustrated airlines. United’s premium Polaris seats were slow to make their debut on the Boeing 777-300ER last year when Zodiac Aerospace fell behind schedule.
Rival Airbus has its own well-established interiors and cabins arm in Stelia Aerospace, which ironically will provide the business class seats for the very first Boeing 787-10 due for delivery to Singapore Airlines in the coming months.
Adient Aerospace will be based near Frankfurt, Germany, along with a technology centre and an initial production plant.
Adient, the leader in the US$70 billion automotive seating sector, has been hinting at a closer relationship with Boeing since the companies announced a collaboration last March.
Industry analysts forecast the commercial aircraft seating market to grow from approximately US$4.5 billion in 2017 to US$6 billion by 2026.
Airlines that are buying an aircraft from Boeing, Airbus or other suppliers choose which supplier they would like to outfit their planes, including suppliers for features such as seating and Wi-Fi. It's similar to how Apple produces an iPhone but consumers then need to pick a service provider.
The companies cited industry estimates of the airplane seating market of $4.5 billion.
Source: Boeing, 2018
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Wednesday Jan 17, 2018