Recaro successfully installed “connected seats” on a TAP Air Portugal A321 single-aisle aircraft. The economy class BL3530 seat is equipped with numerous sensors to gather data on seat performance and generic behavior during flight. As part of a pilot project, it is the first ever economy class seat to be designed, certified and installed as an ‘intelligent seat’. The connected seat is a true game changer in the aircraft seating market and will provide invaluable insights to make air travel even safer and further enhance the passenger journey.
Recaro Aircraft Seating started work on its “iSeat” a couple of years ago. The long proven Recaro economy class seat BL3530 already installed on TAP aircraft served as the project’s foundation. Equipped with sensors, the seat documents various actions, such as if the seat is occupied, how many times a passenger uses the tray table, raises the armrests, reclines the seat, and whether their seatbelt is fastened.
Data retrieval will take place every two months, and the collected data will be analyzed for future investigations, such as tracking passenger preferences and maintenance. This pioneer project highlights the possibilities in a digital cabin, from generating valuable data for the airlines to creating a “smart cabin” through integration. Slated for a six-month trial run, this is the first piece of Recaro’s larger “connected cabin” strategy.
This initiative marked the first time that Recaro designed, produced and certified an aircraft installation under its own Design Organization Approval (DOA) authority, granted to Recaro by European Union Aviation Safety Agency at the aircraft level.
“This is a momentous innovation in the aviation connectivity history and a great achievement for the entire team, who made this project a success”, said Dr. Hiller, Chief Executive Officer and Shareholder of Recaro Aircraft Seating. “As a solution provider first and foremost, we aim to develop inventive, premium products that will revolutionize the future of aircraft seats.”
“TAP Air Portugal is very excited to have been chosen by Recaro as a partner airline to pioneer the investigation of passenger’s comfort during their flights. TAP has been investing throughout the recent years in developing an in-flight product aligned with the brand and consistent on the entire fleet. This product improvement process has been one the pillars of all TAP’s recent transformation. TAP has today a cabin that was specifically designed to match TAP’s identity and to provide the best in-flight experience to our passengers. Recaro is a strategic partner on this transformation process and the “iSeat” will provide further data regarding the passengers’ needs and behaviors that will help TAP Air Portugal and Recaro in the development of new generations of seats to further enhance the comfort and safety standards“, said Nuno Leal, Head of Fleet Planning & Contracts.
Recaro Aircraft Seating and TAP Portugal have a longstanding relationship. A recent collaboration saw Recaro supply the seats for the operator’s new fleet of Airbus A320/A321’s. Equipping the entire cabin with BL3710 and SL3710 economy class seats, made TAP the launch operator for the latter. In 2018 the flagship Portuguese airline also was the first to fly an A330-900neo with a combination of the CL3710 economy and the CL6710 business class seat.
Photo – from left to right: Ricardo Gaspar (TAP/Fleet Engineer), Rui Santos (TAP/Cabin Engineer), Caetano Almeida (TAP/Fleet Engineer – Narrow Body coordinator), Anthony Medaglia !RECARO/Project Manager Customer Support), Violina Mikova (RECARO/Innovation Manager), André Simões (TAP/Fleet Manager), Eduardo Sanz Garcia (TAP/ Fleet Manager)
TAP is Portugal’s leading airline, in operation since 1945 and member of Star Alliance since 2005. TAP hub in Lisbon is a key European gateway at the crossroads of Africa, North, Central and South America, where TAP stands out as the international leading carrier in operation to Brazil. The company’s network currently comprises 90 destinations in 36 countries worldwide.
TAP currently operates about 3,000 weekly flights on a modern fleet of 85 Airbus aircraft and 21 aircraft in TAP Express livery, operating in the company’s regional network, adding up to a 106 aircraft fleet in the whole.
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 over 2600 people worldwide and neared €600 million 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 Schwaebisch 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 Schwaebisch Hall and Recaro eGaming in Stuttgart as well as the Recaro Holding located in Stuttgart. The Group’s consolidated sales amounted to 600 million euros in 2018. Currently the Group employs more than 2,700 employees at its locations around the world. The automotive seating business as well as the child seat and stroller business are operated by licensees.