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Seat Shortage Condemns Brand-New 787s to Mojave Desert Indefinitely

Seat Shortage Condemns Brand-New 787s to Mojave Desert Indefinitely
Joe Cortez

Due to a shortage in airplane seats, Boeing has decided to park two 787 Dreamliners in the desert indefinitely.

Two brand-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft destined for American Airlines will have to spend some time in the sun before the manufacturer hands over their keys. Bloomberg reports the two aircraft, fresh off the assembly line, are being parked in the Mojave Desert while they await a shipment of premium-class seats.

The decision to stow the aircraft stems from issues with seat manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace. The lie-flat seats, which can cost up to $300,000 each, are currently in short supply. As a result, Boeing is unable to complete manufacturing of the aircraft. The two 787s are the third and fourth grounded Dreamliners promised to American due to the seat shortage.

“It’s slow, it’s a real problem,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We can all complain about seat manufacturers, but we can’t fly the airplanes without proper seats. It is really disappointing.”

In order to speed up the process, Boeing says it has sent 150 employees to Zodiac’s manufacturing facility in France, where they will give Zodiac employees a hand in moving the seats forward. The seat manufacturer claims increased orders for both the Dreamliner and the competing Airbus A350 have maxed out their engineering capacity. Boeing is confident that with their employees’ assistance, Zodiac will be able to get things rolling again.

“We have a plan with Zodiac and we’re currently working together on improving that,” said Pat Shanahan, a senior vice president with Boeing. “Between the Boeing personnel on site and Zodiac’s own team, progress is being made.”

[Photo: iStock]

View Comments (6)


  1. relangford

    March 30, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Ah, the joys of “just in time” supply chain.

  2. UncleDude

    March 31, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Don’t think its a question of Just in Time” Its that many Airlines have just woken up to the fact that Premium Business Class Passengers no long want the 2 x 2 x 2 Sloping Seating anymore its now all 1 x 2 x 1 Lie Flat that’s essential now.

    American alone have around 80 777s and 767saircraft they are looking to change over. Plus over 50 new 787 and A350s that they may have changed.

  3. FlyingWithers

    March 31, 2015 at 6:21 am

    Oh, my. Boeing just cannot seem to get it right. Such a same for a wonderful aircraft past. Airbus is no longer a rival, but seems to be ahead.

  4. bbriscoe34

    March 31, 2015 at 8:01 am

    $300,000 per seat – wow! I’d think 3/4 of that should be fixed costs tied to design/etc. Will the price come down if they can manufacture it in volume?

  5. relangford

    March 31, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Does Airbus use Zodiac seats? If so, are they having problems with supply? I would hate to think that one French company was “helping” another French company. In any case, why won’t Boeing just park the planes rather than sending them to the desert (which does have adverse effects on the plane, even if small)?

  6. scented

    April 1, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Guys, it’s April 1st…

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