More bad news for Japanese companies today, as Yokohama based Koito Industries admitted to falsifying test results from its line of airplane seats.
According to the Japanese transportation ministry, the entire testing department at Koito was involved in the scandal, and it may have been going on since the mid 90’s.
During the investigation, officials discovered that Koito skipped entire tests, and used data from past tests instead. In addition to this, they manipulated computer screens so they would show false figures during tests observed by the government.
The false information can have potentially catastrophic results – results of fire resistance and strength were falsified on as many as 150,000 seats installed on planes from 32 airlines.
According to the Koito site, they sold seats to airlines like Continental, JAL, ANA, KLM, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic and SAS. Whether those airlines actually received seats involved in this recall is unknown.
Of course, the timing of this recall is terrible for the Japanese – as they are in the middle of their embarrassing admission of how Toyota handled their safety issues. Make no mistake – 150,000 airline seats in need of potential improvements could turn into a major problem for those airlines involved, especially if the recall means seats need to be replaced.
As of right now, there is apparently “no cause for concern” – the Japanese transportation ministry has approved the continued use of the seats after consulting the Federal Aviation Administration.
Update: Initially, this article had listed Air Canada as a current user of Koito seats (based off information from the Koito site). The airline contacted us to let us know that they removed all Koito seats in 2008. None of the seats in the Air Canada fleet are currently from the troubled Japanese company. Thanks to Air Canada for that correction.