Recaro takes a hit in 2020, but is on track for recovery


Recaro Aircraft Seating (Recaro) has released its 2020 financial reports. As would be expected, the company’s activities have been impacted by the travel restrictions imposed around the world in an effort to control the Covid-19 pandemic. With vaccination programmes helping enable the recovery of the commercial aviation industry, Recaro has revealed its new long-term strategy, with a focus on customers and its global team members.

“We remain dedicated as we continue to expand our global footprint, working on new innovations and motivating our key capital – our employees – with our internal culture code of ‘We Are Recaro,’” said Dr Mark Hiller, CEO of Recaro Aircraft Seating. “I am confident and optimistic that we will emerge stronger than ever from the current situation and continue driving comfort in the sky.”

Recaro has steadily reported double-digit growth rates over the past 10 years, but for 2020 it earned revenues of €295 million: 60% less than in 2019. The shortfall has had an effect on staffing, but with that focus on employees, Recaro has strived to minimise the effect. Although employee headcount at certain production sites was reduced by up to 30%, Recaro was able to reach a significant deal with its employees at its Schwaebisch Hall headquarters to secure their employment through mid-2023. Recaro now employs 2,100 team members across its five sites around the world.

Looking forward 

At the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, Recaro’s leadership team responded swiftly by making appropriate adjustments to support the company’s internal and external goals for long-term success. Various measures were implemented under the company’s global efficiency programme, named ‘Touch & Go’, which reduced costs by 18% across all sites and 150 projects were introduced to support efficiency. The management teams contributed extra savings through salary cuts, and the implementation of “short-time work” at the Schwaebisch Hall site also helped save resources.

There were success stories for Recaro’s normal business in 2020, with its lightest economy class seat model, the SL3710, taking flight for the first time on TAP Air Portugal and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Recaro also reports that it enjoyed positive feedback from its external customer survey and internal employee survey, and earned an award from Airbus for its in-service support.

Recaro is enjoying success with its SL3710 model. Indeed Indigo Partners’ order for this model is the largest ever placed with Recaro

2021 is already shaping up to be a busy year for Recaro, with the family-owned business entering the regional jet market for the first time and announcing KLM Cityhopper as its first regional jet customer, with the airline using a novel ‘hybrid’ layout. The company has also been working through its order for 96,000 SL3710 seats (459 shipsets) under the Indigo Partners award, the largest award in Recaro history. Indigo Partners’ airline brands include Wizz Air, Volaris, Frontier and JetSmart.

Recaro is also driving forward with its ‘space2grow’ facility expansion projects, with construction at its headquarters reported to be on track. The customer service area, crash facility and flam lab are slated to open in autumn 2021.

The expanded customer service area at Recaro’s headquarters is due to open in autumn 2021

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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