Recaro tests first connected economy seat on TAP Air Portugal aircraft

BL3530 connected seat as part of Recaro’s “connected cabin” strategy

Schwaebisch Hall, Germany, November 7, 2019 – 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)