Recaro Aircraft Seating anticipates even faster growth of its seat business in the coming years as demand for retrofits picks up.

“The retrofit market is coming back,” Recaro CEO Mark Hiller said on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Sydney June 2.

Even if airlines decide to reduce capacity expansion because of higher fuel prices or other reasons Hiller said he does not see growth in the seat market flattening.

Recaro’s revenues have grown by around 10% annually over the past few years. Hiller expects that rate to accelerate to around 15% in 2018 and beyond. The company’s focus historically has been supplying economy-class seats for short- and long-haul markets, but it is expanding into the business class segment, where it sees good margins despite more complexity and customization. “We want a relevant position in the business class segment,” Hiller said. He sees more business class growth as airlines cut back on first class.

One trend he observes is differentiation within business and economy classes. Airlines are moving towards installing more than one type of seat in economy as they segment that market with new products such as basic- and premium-economy offerings.

Recaro has placed its non-reclining SL3510 seat in the basic-economy market, which is used by LCC airlines such as the UK’s easyJet, Spain’s Vueling and the Philippine’s Cebu Pacific.  British Airways has also selected the seat.

Jens Flottau, jens.flottau@aviationweek.com