By Rachel Hawkins
Employees and executives from Recaro Aircraft Seating Americas and GOL, Brazil’s largest airline, gathered in the Recaro’s Town Hall early on Dec. 20 for the unveiling of a new seating project.
The BL3530 economy-class seats will be installed in 86 GOL single aisles aircraft, designed mainly for short and medium flights. The seats are Recaro’s newest and innovative seat, which offer a contemporary style with a lightweight appeal.
The new seats offer various amenities from allowing efficient use of the cabin space to reducing kerosene consumption, so the planes can fly longer distances. The seats feature larger bins and laptop walls on the back of the seats. The seats also allow passengers to charge their electric devices of all sizes.
“I think what’s most important about all of this is customer feedback,” Lynette Erwin, Recaro production manager, said. “The creation of the seats wasn’t done alone inside of an office, or just by one specific person. For the company, it was more important what the customers expressed and wanted in their surveys. GOL took that information, and then incorporated it, when they were searching for the perfect seats to fit their customers’ needs. That says a lot about the company itself.
“This event was a fabulous opportunity to see exactly who my team is making the seats for. A lot of times, they don’t have a face to the name, or they think that it may not be important because of the lack of connection. I believe my team saw it is in fact important, because of the relationship GOL is trying to build with Recaro. This event shows that they care. Our team has a lot of the same standards, qualities, and personal abilities GOL showed today, and those are the same exact things Recaro’s about.”
The seats are expected to go in service during the first quarter of 2018.
“This is our first time we’re doing business with GOL,” Sunitha Vegerla, general manager for Recaro Aircraft Seating Americas said. “Recaro is also known in the industry to be the premium seats supplier. This means a lot in terms of having the airline partner with us in not just the first time purchasing the seat, but the entire relationship after that.
“In the seats there are very subtle features included within the seats, but were created in response to the passengers’ requests. Since GOL is the innovation leader in the market, we originally launched the personal device holder in 2013, and we started seeing a big pickup of the feature, especially in North America. We’re interested to see how this takes off in the South American market.”
GOL was the first airline to sell tickets on their Facebook page, along with offering ‘selfie check-ins.’
“In terms of growth for the passenger’s seats, this year we built about 28,000 and next year we’re planning for 35,000 – 36,000 depending on how things go,” Denis Martineau, vice-president of operations at Recaro Aircraft Seating Americas said. In five years we hope to be in the 60,000 range.
“The last shipment will be delivered around May 10,” Martineau said. “Then we will go into the program with 60 aircrafts which will take a little longer.”
Based in São Paulo, GOL was founded in 2001. Now Brazil’s largest airline, GOL transports 33 million passengers annually.
The seating project is expected to be finished in the middle of 2018.