AKRON (Dec. 12, 2011)—Goodyear is warning its commercial airline customers of a potential global shortage of bias aviation tires because production at its plant in Bangkok, Thailand, has been suspended since mid-October due to “catastrophic” flooding in Thailand.
Goodyear still is assessing the damage at its plant to get a “clearer understanding of the impact on the global aviation tire business.” Production was suspended Oct. 17 and likely won't return to full capacity until May 2012, Goodyear said.
The company, one of four firms producing aviation tires for the larger commercial aircraft market, has told its commercial airline customers they may start seeing shortages in February or March.
In the meantime, Goodyear said it has increased production of new aviation tires at its Danville, Va., plant and of retreads at plants in Stockbridge, Ga., Kingman, Ariz., and Tilburg, Netherlands, and is pursuing “other viable sources of tire supply” for its customers.
Goodyear emphasized it would “never compromise on the quality of its products and is confident in the high quality of the tires it obtains from these qualified sources.”
Other measures Akron-based Goodyear is taking include:
—seeking assistance and support from its suppliers, governments and regulatory agencies to enable the fastest possible return of full supply of global aviation tires in addition to restoring full production at the Bangkok plant as quickly as possible;
—reminding aircraft operators to follow recommended tire care and maintenance procedures to safely ensure maximum tire performance and maximize tire life; and
—working to re-start production at the 43-year-old Bangkok plant as soon as possible, considering possible obstacles such as equipment status, availability of materials, ability to ship product and materials in and out of Thailand, and other factors yet unknown.
Goodyear said floodwaters that idled the plant receded during the last week of November, allowing the company to start assessing the damage.
Extraordinarily heavy monsoon rains in September and October caused widespread flooding throughout much of Thailand, causing hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars of property damage and lost income, according to various news reports and government estimates.
Goodyear said many of its 700 employees suffered property damage or loss but there were no fatalities. Within the first days of flooding, associates developed the "Friends help Friends" project to solicit funds for those whose homes and families had been affected.