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Air Canada Stands by Decision to Cramp Economy, Says ‘Range of Products’ Justifies ‘Densed-up’ Aircraft


Air Canada offers its range of seating products in defense of its tightly configured economy cabin, but profit and cost control may be the real drivers.

Bob Atkinson, Air Canada’s general manger of sales for the U.K., Ireland and northern Europe, recently attempted to defend the airline’s tightly configured economy seating in an interview with Business Traveller.

“We have a range of products for the price that people are willing to pay,” said Atkinson when asked about the airline’s high-density seating changes on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (789) and Boeing 777-300 (77W).

Atkinson went on to indicate that business travelers have a choice of premium economy or business class and that economy, with its layout, presents its own value for its cost. “So, we think from that point of view, we’ve got a range of products which meet a big cross-section of the traveling public.”

While Air Canada may offer a range of products on its high-capacity aircraft, it appears that cost control and profitability are the key drivers. In a recent presentation to institutional investors, Michael Rousseau, Air Canada’s executive vice president and CFO, outlined some of the cost saving benefits.

According to Rousseau, the airline’s high-density Boeing 777s can operate routes at a 20 percent saving over the Boeing 767, thus improving route contribution. In addition, Rousseau estimated that the high-density Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will reduce the cost per available seat mile (CASM) by 29 percent when compared with the Boeing 767.

Operating routes more efficiently will allow Air Canada to enter new international markets. In an interview with Bloomberg, Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu claimed that high-density aircraft “turned out to be a great strategy” for the airline. “Densed-up” aircraft, as Rovinescu termed them, will be part of the CEO’s plan to cut expenses for each seat mile flown by 15 percent over five years.

Betting profitability against passenger comfort may seems like a bit of gamble for Air Canada, but with competitors like as American Airlines, Air France, KLM and Emirates following the same high-capacity route, the odds appear stacked against the passenger.

[Photo: Air Canada]

Comments are Closed.
weero February 14, 2015

Every useless bit of safety-garbage is regulated in air traffic: safety demonstrations, no notebooks in seat pockets during taxi, and ashtray on non-smoking flights, the # of FAs are mandated .... but when it comes to the enormous health risk with hobbit seats for 2015's demographics, lawmakers and authorities play dumb & deaf. Dumping all swim vests, life rafts, and seat belts from those planes while mandating 32" pitch and 18" seat width would still make for safer travel than what we have today.

angryskittle February 13, 2015

Haha, not all employers let their employees book anything other than the cheapest Y fare. Even for long haul.