SEATTLE, April 13 (Reuters) - Rockwell Collins Inc will try to sell more aircraft seats and interiors directly to plane makers, rather than airlines, now that it has acquired interiors maker B/E Aerospace, Rockwell Chief Executive Kelly Ortberg said on Thursday.
“This is an area where I think we can do more standard equipment with the OEMs,” he said in an interview, referring to plane makers such as Boeing and Airbus.
“I think we can do more with Boeing as they look at what part of the interiors they want to standardize,” he added.
Rockwell, an aircraft component maker, on Thursday said it closed on its $8.6 billion acquisition of B/E Aerospace, giving it exposure to that market.
Boeing last year chose privately held LIFT by EnCore as exclusive supplier of standard seats for the 737 aircraft, including the 737 MAX, which had a first flight on Thursday.
Airlines typically are responsible for buying seats, but delays in seat delivery by some suppliers prompted Boeing to begin buying directly to ensure that seats would arrive at its factories on time for installation.
“I certainly have intentions of putting some offers in front of all of our OEMs on how we could do more standard equipment for them,” Ortberg said.
Ortberg also said Rockwell’s revenue could take a hit from delay of a Delta Air Lines order for Airbus twin-aisle aircraft but that he does not think demand for big planes is weakening more than expected.
“If they move those airplanes to the right, then the revenues for the avionics and the interiors that go with those airplanes are going to move to the right,” Ortberg said, referring to the potential delay of delivery of the widebody planes.
Delta said on Wednesday it was reviewing widebody orders with plane makers. “We continue to see excess capacity in widebodies,” Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said on a post-earnings conference call.
Ortberg said he expects demand for large planes to improve after 2020, when Boeing’s twin-aisle 777X enters service. Sales of large jetliners slowed sharply in recent years. (Reporting by Alwyn Scott)