Press Release: Recaro invests EUR 65m in R&D for business class seats

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While the global passenger seat market will grow with an average five percent per year, Recaro Aircraft Seating expects a spike in demand for business class seats in particular. A trend further fueled by passengers’ expectations for airliners to deliver ‘individualized living spaces’ onboard. To be fully ready to answer market needs, Recaro has invested heavily in its R&D for business class seats.

For most airliners, business class seating has become the signature product for their passengers as it offers most possibilities to reflect the airline brand. Integrating innovative features in business class, also helps them differentiate from the competition. At the same time passengers expect carriers to deliver individualized comfort in the sky, especially when it comes to business class. This has led to an increase in appreciation for business class seats.

As a global supplier of premium aircraft seats for airlines and OEMs, Recaro has identified the evolutions in business class and in the aircraft seating market in general for the years to come.

  1. Business class to become the new first class

There will be a – further – decline in the number of first class seats in the foreseeable future: few airliners still offer first class and when they do they tend to go for a superior first class-product with limited availability. Recaro also sees a rise in demand for a wider range of business class seats. Similar to economy+ and premium economy being available next to regular economy, business class will have different category seats offering more or less features.

  1. Further development of a highly individualized business class product

The evolution towards more business class will have an effect on the business class seats themselves: since airlines have started to eliminate first class from their long-range fleet, business class has become an even bigger differentiator than it already was. Carriers expect a highly individualized product with a premium look & feel. Privacy, connectivity and interactivity, comfort and wellbeing as well as an individually adjustable seating environment equipped with personal air-conditioning and a mini-bar will become the new normal in business class. Passengers expect their own “individual living space” in the sky and that is what they will get.

  1. Bespoke and platform (business class) seats

Five-star carriers strive to be ahead of their competition by bringing innovations to the aircraft cabin. As such, these airliners expect tailor-made “bespoke” products for all their seats. Carriers with smaller fleets, on the other hand, often do not have the means to bear the costs nor the resources to go through an entire product development process. They prefer to go with a mature and/or off-the-shelf platform product, that has proven to be successful with one of the 5-star carriers, enhanced with customized features.

  1. Increase in demand for premium economy

Business class moving up to replace first class seats, widens the gap with the economy class seats and increases the need for an

‘intermediate’ economy segment. Over recent years Recaro has seen a higher demand for premium economy seats. They foresee this trend to continue in the years to come.

“Recaro has a reputation of delivering high quality seats on time, be it in business, premium economy or economy class,” says Dr. Mark Hiller, CEO and Shareholder of Recaro Aircraft Seating. “In order to uphold that reputation and meet increasing demand in the business class seating, we invested heavily in research & development for that specific class. This means we are now more than ready to answer to our customers’ every need.”

Recaro Aircraft seating will announce a number of innovations for the business class category at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg from April 2nd to April 4th.

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About RECARO Aircraft Seating

RECARO Aircraft Seating sees itself as a solution provider for its customers. As a global supplier of premium aircraft seats for airlines and OEMs, the company reported a growth averaging 10% over the past 15 years. RECARO employs 2300 people worldwide and exceeded half a billion euros in sales in 2018. It is the global market leader in the economy class seating. To secure its strategic expansion, RECARO is investing hundreds of millions in product innovation in business class seating. Over the next 5 years, it will also invest in significantly expanding its headquarters in Schwäbisch Hall as well as its sites in China, Poland and the USA. With this, RECARO consistently underpins its corporate vision of “Driving comfort in the sky”. The aim: become market leader in economy and business class seating while maintaining a permanent customer focus.

About Recaro Group

The Recaro Group comprises the independently operating divisions Recaro Aircraft Seating in Schwäbisch Hall and Recaro eGaming in Stuttgart as well as the Recaro Holding located in Stuttgart. The Group’s consolidated sales amounted to 540 million euros in 2017. Currently the Group employs more than 2,400 employees at its locations around the world. The automotive seating business as well as the child seat and stroller business are operated by licensees.

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