Recaro (stand 7G40) is allowing a sneak preview of its new business class seat for short- and medium-haul aircraft. While European carriers equip their narrowbody fleets with a single seat type and differentiate the business class section through better onboard service, there is a market for dedicated regional premium seats in the USA and Asia where such flights can be up to six hours long, says Eckhard Behnert, director of product group management.
The German manufacturer has developed the "Comfort Line" (CL) 5510 for an unnamed airline, which will install it on its narrow- and widebody fleet. This is to be revealed in May.
The most conspicuous feature is the fixed back shell, which should give travellers unobstructed legroom and stowage space no matter how much the seat in front has been reclined. The seat pitch can vary between 43in and 45in (109-114cm).
While the kinematic components are based on the existing CL6510 seat, which can recline to a slightly angled "lie-flat" position, the new model does not offer an even sleeping surface. It provides a "relax position" with a reclining seat back, forward-sliding sitting area and raised leg support. Ergonomic cushions, extra-wide armrests and a sophisticated headrest should provide passengers the necessary comfort.
At 95kg (209lb) per seat pair, the CL5510 is the lightest fixed back shell seat in the industry, according to Recaro. This does not include the seat belts, which will need to be equipped with airbags to fulfil safety requirements regarding head impact injury. For Recaro it will be interesting to see how successful the regional business class seat will be beyond the initial customer, says Behnert. He adds that it is important to offer a product in this category to facilitate a potential economy class seat deal, because the respective airlines are unlikely to buy coach class accommodation and then look for another supplier for a few rows at the front.