Air Canada will reveal more details about its new low-cost carrier Rouge's premium product in February and start selling seats as a separate fare class at that time, the airline says.
The premium cabin on Rouge's Boeing 767-300s will be configured with 24 seats with a 37in (939.8 mm) pitch in a 2-2-2 configuration. The airline has not yet identified which types of seats will be installed in the cabin. The class will also include an upgraded beverage service.
The aircraft will also have an economy "plus" option with extra legroom on Rouge flights. Airline analysts have been waiting to see if Air Canada will join competitor WestJet in introducing a premium economy product on its mainline fleet as well.
Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu reaffirmed to investors on 11 November that the airline is "actively studying the benefits" of having a premium economy cabin on its mainline fleet, making mention of its upcoming Boeing 787 deliveries scheduled to start in 2014.
Air Canada has so far not confirmed any solid plans to include premium economy on the mainline fleet, but will offer an enhanced economy section on both the 767s and Airbus A319s in the Rouge fleet.
The move to include a premium economy product on the mainline fleet would be a lucrative option for Air Canada despite the inherent costs of implementation, says Walter Spracklin, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, in a research note. He says premium economy seating could be easily added to new aircraft such as the 787 and 777.
"We note that based on initial calculations, we expect an introduction of premium economy seating to be immediately accretive," the research note says.
WestJet plans to finish installing premium economy seating on its 737 fleet in early 2013 but does not plan to extend it to its new regional airline Encore. Its offering will have 24 premium economy seats with a 36in (914.4 mm) pitch.