Building on its record seat deliveries in 2016, German aircraft seating specialist Recaro Aircraft Seating is planning to double its Chinese production rates in 2017.

Recaro delivered over 100,000 seats in 2016, setting a new record across its four production sites—including a record 5,000 passenger seats in one month at its Poland site.

Currently the company manufactures around 30,000 seats per year at each of its facilities in Germany, Poland and the US. In 2016, Recaro’s newest site in Qingdao, China doubled its production to 10,000 seats.

Speaking to ATW at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Recaro CEO Mark Hiller said Chinese production will again be doubled to 20,000 seats in 2017 based on booked orders.

It was announced at AIX on April 5 that Air China subsidiary Shenzhen Airlines ordered 8,000 units of Recaro’s CL5710 business-class and BL3530 economy seats, which will be installed on the carrier’s 37 Boeing 737 MAX linefit and 14 Airbus A320 aircraft retrofit.

“We will not be doubling the size of the facility, but we will be adding capacity,” Hillier said. All of the other sites will also grow their output in 2017, although they will not double their production.

The seating specialist is also investing €13.5 million ($14.3 million) in a new 6,000-sq m logistics center at the company’s Schwaebisch Hall headquarters. This will open at the end of 2017.

“We are investing a lot in increasing the resources at our sites, but we are not going crazy. We look at every request for proposals and, if we don’t have the capacity, we won’t offer on it,” Hiller said.

Recaro has worked to establish itself as an economy seat specialist and has just moved into business-class seats. “Right now we are not in first [class seating] and our focus is Airbus and Boeing. I’d never say no [to moving into first class], but I would say not right now.”

The company’s final 2016 figures will be released in May, when the company’s accounts are finalized. “We had a successful year last year and we are looking at another successful year this year, with further revenue growth,” Hillier said.

Victoria Moores