Air Canada to offer premium economy on 777-300ERs

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Air Canada has disclosed the delivery timeline for its three additional Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and will introduce an international premium economy product on the aircraft type.

The additional three aircraft will be delivered in November and December 2013 and February 2014, bringing Air Canada's 777 fleet to 23 aircraft made up of 777-200ERs and -200LRs.

The dedicated premium cabin will be laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration with larger seats, more recline and seven more inches of leg room than economy, the Montreal-based carrier says. The aircraft will also offer a larger economy cabin. The aircraft also have an Executive First class cabin.

Air Canada will be introducing the new cabin on 11 July on Montreal-Paris flights and plans to introduce the service on more routes as new aircraft enter the fleet.

The premium economy product will also be featured on Air Canada's 37 Boeing 787s, which will feature a new inflight cabin product. The 777-300ERs will have a special high-density configuration for international, high-traffic routes, the carrier told analysts on a 7 February.

Air Canada says it does not have plans to reconfigure its in-service 777 aircraft with the new cabin. However, the carrier will review how the premium product performs and make a decision at a later date whether to expand it to other aircraft types-a decision that depends on market response and demand.

"With the introduction of premium economy, Air Canada will begin offering customers a new, high-value option for enhanced comfort and service on international flights," said Ben Smith, Air Canada's chief commercial officer. "The delivery of five new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft over the next 12 months provides us with the right opportunity to launch a new cabin of service that will be offered on more of our international flights over time as we take delivery of new 787 aircraft."

The premium economy cabin will include perks such as premium meals and priority check-in, differentiating it from the Preferred Seat option that Air Canada already offers throughout the fleet.