November 7 2019  |  Seating

Recaro tests connected economy seat aboard TAP

By Jane Hobson

Recaro installed “intelligent seats” on a TAP Air Portugal A321 single-aisle aircraft as part of its connected cabin strategy. From left to right: TAP Fleet Engineer Ricardo Gaspar, TAP Cabin Engineer Rui Santos, TAP Narrow Body Coordinator Caetano Almeida, Recaro Project Manager Customer Support Anthony Medaglia, Recaro Innovation Manager Violina Mikova, TAP Fleet Manager André Simões and TAP Fleet Manager Eduardo Sanz Garcia.

Recaro announced today that it has successfully installed “connected seats” on a TAP Air Portugal A321 single-aisle aircraft. As part of a pilot project, it is the first economy class seat to be designed, certified and installed as an ‘intelligent seat’.

The economy class BL3530 seat is equipped with numerous sensors to gather data on seat performance and behavior during flight. The seat will provide insights that will help make air travel safer and enhance the passenger experience. Slated for a six-month trial run, this is the first piece of Recaro’s connected cabin strategy.

Recaro Aircraft Seating started work on its “iSeat” a couple of years ago. The Recaro economy class seat BL3530 on TAP aircraft serve 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 the 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 highlights the possibilities in a digital cabin, from generating valuable data for the airlines to creating a ‘smart cabin’ through integration,” says today’s press release from Recaro.

This project marks 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,” said Mark 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.”

“This product improvement process has been one the pillars of all TAP’s recent transformation. [The airline] has a cabin that was specifically designed to match [its] identity and to provide the best inflight experience to our passengers,” said Nuno Leal, Head of Fleeting Planning and Contracts at TAP Air Portugal. “The ‘iSeat’ will provide further data regarding the passengers’ needs and behaviors that will help in the development of new generations of seats to further enhance the comfort and safety standards.”

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