Recaro, Airbus leaders focus on hygiene, flexibility for interiors future

Airbus leadership toured the Recaro production facility and new space2grow expansion site, which features a new crash facility, flame lab and new customer service center.
Credit: Recaro Aircraft Seating

Recaro Aircraft Seating and Airbus leadership are discussing how to collaborate on ideas to manage the effects on the interiors industry as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

At a meeting in early August at Recaro headquarters in Schwaebisch Hall, Germany, the companies discussed various cabin and product topics through the lens of creating a safer and more hygienic flight experience, Recaro Aircraft CEO Mark Hiller told ATW.

Hiller said the main focus of the meeting was collaborating on hygienic solutions, because both groups view the pandemic as an opportunity to challenge the status quo and push cabin innovation to new heights.

“In addition, we have held countless focus groups with our customers to gain feedback and better understand what their needs are,” he said. “As we enter this new chapter for the industry, the shared goal is to improve the overall passenger journey.”

Hiller said Recaro’s top priority is the company’s vision, Driving Comfort in the Sky. “Although the definition of comfort on board looks different now, we remain committed to creating products that help passengers feel safe and optimize flight performance. The situation is changing every day, so we are constantly checking in with our partners like Airbus to ensure our solutions are still pertinent.”

Hiller said most of Recaro’s short-term solutions are lightweight, easy-to-remove-and-stow solutions that also elevate the passenger experience by enhancing privacy or improving sleeping comfort. “Flexibility is key for our customers, which is why we developed fixed and moveable headrests with wings that can be folded out or flapped down, depending on the individual’s preference,” Hiller said.

He said one long-term solution involves the enhancement of Recaro’s “hygienic seat” product that was originally introduced to the market in 2018. “The hygienic coating has been revamped to repel bacteria and viruses, which is used on specific touchpoints, like armrests.”

Hiller said Recaro is actively designing a cargo solution as a result of COVID-19. “In an effort to support airlines that are temporarily converting passenger aircraft to cargo planes, we have developed an efficient way to install cargo on a plane without having to remove the passenger seats. The lightweight boxes fit perfectly on a seat and will lock into place with the seatbelt slots,” he said.

“Our strong partnership with Airbus is a great foundation for brainstorming sessions like this,” Hiller added.

Recaro said it has seating solutions on all Airbus aircraft models, including the A330 and A350, which are equipped with the Recaro business-class seating products. Recaro and Airbus have worked jointly on numerous projects through the years. Most recently, Recaro collaborated on a smart cabin concept with Airbus, which aims to provide guests with a more personalized travel experience.

Linda Blachly

Linda Blachly is Senior Associate Editor for Air Transport World and Aviation Week. She joined the company in July 2010 and is responsible for producing features for Air Transport World’s monthly magazine and engaging content for the She is based in the Washington DC office.