With Airbus slated to deliver its first Mobile-assembled A321 to JetBlue, Germany-based Recaro Aircraft Seating Co. is the latest global firm to stake its claim at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley.
“We’re in an interiors phase,” Roger Wehner, executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority, said, calling aircraft seats “customer-defined pieces of equipment” requiring close collaboration with other suppliers.
Recaro will be located in Building 11, which is part of the newest phase of the airport authority’s Airbus Incubator Strategy offering low-cost, flexible solutions to attract suppliers to Mobile during Airbus’ initial low rate of production.
“Recaro will be another one of our small-to-start operations with only two or three people, but then they will grow to as many as 10 (employees) by the time Airbus reaches Rate 4. Rate 8 is a whole different discussion,” Wehner said.
Rate 4 refers to Airbus’ plan to be producing four planes per month in Mobile by 2017, while Rate 8 refers to the undisclosed date at which the company could double its production.
The building, which houses the airport authority’s offices, is undergoing its second renovation to accommodate the influx of interested aerospace suppliers.
“A lot of our newest tenants – especially our international clients – like knowing that if they have a problem, all they have to do is come downstairs for an answer of help,” Wehner said. “And we’re not just talking about business solutions. We’re talking about helping somebody find a dentist for their kids. It’s the simple stuff in life, particularly if you struggle with the language, that makes all the difference in making people feel at home, and we just think this speaks volumes to that full-service type solution we offer to our folks.”
With plants in Germany, Poland, South Africa, the United States and China, Recaro Aircraft Seating ranks among the world’s top three aircraft seat manufacturers. The company, which won the Gold German Design Award 2016, operates service centers in Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Asia and Australia.
With cabin interiors specialists Vartan and Zodiac already on site and Mobile’s own Star Aviation a longtime fixture at Brookley, Wehner called Recaro the next logical evolution of the interiors phase before in-flight entertainment system specialists enter the fray.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson called Recaro a “world-class company” and a “great addition” to Brookley’s growing aerospace cluster.
“Mobile is open for business, and great companies like Recaro are helping spread that message to the world,” Stimpson said in a prepared statement.