Recaro Aircraft Seating is showcasing a set of narrowbody seats, which can have their pitch adjusted during turnaround, at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg.

In partnership with Airbus, Recaro has developed “Smart Cabin Reconfiguration” based on the Airbus A320 cabin.

This flexible cabin concept involves a block of four seat rows. The cushion of the rear set of seats folds up, freeing up space to move the remaining rows back along a rail, increasing their seat pitch. The exact pitch is completely variable and can be unevenly divided between the remaining rows.

“It can be adjusted from one flight to another and used for upgrades or to generate ancillary revenues,” Recaro Aircraft Seating CEO Mark Hiller told ATW during an exclusive interview in Hamburg. “This is the first time we will show it to the airlines. We are gauging interest.”

While the seats in Hamburg are demonstrators, Hiller said the concept is at a “very good maturity level.” It uses an existing Recaro economy seat, although the folding seat row would need certifying. The rail and fittings have already been safety tested.

Hiller said the innovation is unlikely to be applied to the whole aircraft, as this would involve shifting too many seat rows and could cause problems around emergency exits, but he added that the concept—which can be applied to a few rows—could be transferred to other aircraft types beyond the A320.

Recaro is also demonstrating a number of other products at AIX, including a new mechanical business-class seat (the CL4710), the only single-aisle business class seat with electrical actuation (the CL5710) and a modified version of the sensor-equipped CL3710 smart seat.

The company is also demonstrating optional coatings that remove bacteria within three hours, as well as an augmented-reality business class seat, which potential customers can sit in and see how their branding would look in a virtual cabin using a headset. This enables rapid prototyping and easier visualization.

Click here to watch a video of Recaro head of innovation management Jochen Lohrmann demonstrating Recaro’s Airbus A320 Smart Cabin Reconfiguration.

Victoria Moores