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SEATING 

Slim and practical

As orders for aircraft continue to pour in, airline seating companies rush to accommodate demand. Here are the latest offerings from three of the important players

The 3530Swift seat from Recaro is available in a number of pre-approved and pre-certified configurations at supplier furnished equipment

T

he global aircraft seating market is taking shape in new directions and adding new players by the year, to meet the surging demand for air transport in emerging markets and developing regions. At the same time, products are being developed with new materials and modified to a new breed of traveler demanding power and entertainment, yet still mindful of comfort in an aircraft personal space that within a year, could be shrinking in noticeable ways on short-haul flights. Slimness and lightweight are two of the most important factors airlines consider when selecting a seating manufacturer. One other requirement has become vital: quick turnarounds. Manufacturers are responding with new configurations and supplier furnished choices that are pre-certified and cataloged with a goal to shave months off the time between order and delivery. One thing is certain; assembly lines around the world will be busy in the years to come. The signs of continued growth are everywhere. According to a report by market research firm ReportsnReports, compound annual growth (CAGR) of the global seating market is pegged at 13.78% from 2016-21. “A rise in passenger traffic as well as an increase in aircraft orders and deliveries are the major factors affecting the growth in the aircraft seating market,” said an introduction to the report. While the company sees narrow-

body aircraft taking up much of the demand, wide-body aircraft demand will begin to grow faster in the future. Another study, by United Kingdombased MarketsAndMarkets projected that the seating market would grow from US$8.74 Billion in 2016 to US$16.94 Billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 14.15% during the same period. One company that has been growing apace within the aircraft industry is Recaro Aircraft Seating. At the end of the year, the company had hit its growth targets of 10% and went into January with a substantial order for its 3530Swift seat that is supplier furnished equipment (SFE). (See related story page 15) The 3530Swift will be part of the Economy Class cabin on the A320neo aircraft at Tigerair in Singapore. For Recaro the order is important because it is the first SFE seat for the workhorse A320 family of aircraft. For narrow-body aircraft a catalog approach of pre-certified SFE’s with pre-defined options will drive down the lead times and eliminate the risks of seeking out multiple suppliers for each feature, said Recaro’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mark Hiller. With such a selection of pre-configured and pre- certified seating available in the Airbus catalog, he said lead times could be trimmed to as short as four months. Since the beginning of last year, Recaro says that Airbus has placed enough orders for the 3530Swift to equip 74 A320s. “The 3530Swift seat’s short deliv-

ery times, combined with its extensive options package represents the ideal solution for low-cost airlines,” said Irene Tan, General Manager of Asia Pacific at Recaro. For airlines like Tigerair, the 3530Swift offers not only a suitable seat for the low-cost carrier but also the ability to order from a producer close to its headquarters. Three years ago, Recaro opened a new production site in China for the seat variety. Hiller said Recaro doubled the output at the plant last year and expects to double the output again before the end of 2017.

Essenza and Elemento

Italy-based Geven Aircraft seating is also attempting to fill out the intense production plans for both the A320 and 737 with selection of slim Economy Class seating that is geared toward the

The Essenza Economy Class seat weighs in at just less than eight kilograms fully dressed

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PAX International AIME/MRO Dubai 2017  
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