April 15 2024  |  Seating

Comfort elevated with RECARO Aircraft Seating

By Robynne Trueman

This is a special feature from PAX Tech's April 2024 Seating & IFEC issue, on page 18.

The Air India Economy Class seat from RECARO

RECARO Aircraft Seating recently announced partnerships with both Air India and Southwest Airlines, expanding its global reach. The seating giant is retrofitting Economy and Premium Economy Class seats for Air India under the airline’s updated brand identity, delivering a host of ergonomic features. Its Economy seats for Southwest are similarly focused on passenger comfort while supporting the airline’s sustainability initiatives through the lightweight design of the BL3710. 

Dr. Mark Hiller, CEO of RECARO Aircraft Seating and RECARO Holding

PAX Tech spoke to Dr. Mark Hiller, CEO of RECARO Aircraft Seating and RECARO Holding about these 2024 partnerships and what they represent for the seating company and passengers worldwide.

Comfort and customization for Air India
In February, RECARO and Air India announced that their partnership will see more than 22,000 RECARO seats installed on the airline’s fleet in both line-fit and retrofit programs in the next five to six years. The airline selected the CL3710 and the CL3810 for Economy Class, while the PL3530 will be used to retrofit and line-fit its Premium Economy seats.

In designing the seats for Air India’s Premium Economy and Economy Class, RECARO is customizing the upholstery and trim to reflect the airline’s updated brand identity.

“The dress covers have an embossing effect in the stitch line areas and foam lamination, which adds additional comfort and aesthetic to the seat,” Hiller explains.

The initial phase of the retrofit is already underway. RECARO’s PL3530 seats for Premium Economy feature a seven-inch recline and an array of ergonomic features, including a six-way adjustable headrest, designed to elevate the passenger experience.

“The PL3530 was built to elevate sleeping comfort, as the seat structure uses a recline instead of a fixed back shell and an innovative calf rest to increase living space,” says Hiller. “This provides a more supportive ergonomic posture/body opening angle while in a sleeping position.”

Sustainable seating for Southwest
RECARO also announced earlier this year that it is expanding its footprint in the Americas with a BL3710 seat for Southwest Airlines’ 737 MAX 8 Economy Class. Hiller tells PAX Tech that the partnership is a long time coming.

“Since RECARO Aircraft Seating expanded to the U.S. 25 years ago, it has been a long-term goal of the Fort Worth, Texas, facility to work with our neighbours – Southwest Airlines,” he explains. “From their servant-leadership and people-centric culture to their stance on sustainability and involvement in the community, we see a lot of similarities in the cul- tures and values at our companies.”

The Fort Worth facility has produced more than 14,000 pax of the award-winning BL3710 seat. Hiller notes that the partnership with Southwest Airlines will expand RECARO’s footprint in the Americas while increasing sustainability.

The BL3710 seat was created for airlines with sustainability at the forefront. It is a lightweight seat that maintains functionality and prioritizes passenger comfort, allowing airlines to reduce emissions without compromising on the passenger experience. Southwest undertook an extensive research process prior to selecting the seat, including direct feedback from hands-on testing, interactive workshops and comfort studies.

RECARO partnered with Southwest for additional enhancements to the BL3710, adding in-seat power, a personal electronic device holder and dual cup holders on the seatback tray with left-handed passengers in mind. The seats maintain the width and legroom that passengers are accustomed to on Southwest’s existing aircraft configurations.

“Producing the BL3710 locally will make an impact on our development efforts within the Dallas-Fort Worth community as we continue to expand our workforce and onsite capabilities,” Hiller adds. “This partnership will allow RECARO to help provide comfort to millions who travel with Southwest Airlines.”

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