Air Canada and WestJet Adding to Economy Class Seating

By Bizclik Editor

The competition over the Canadian business traveller is fierce these days, with main airline competitors Air Canada, WestJet and Porter Airlines adding new features to entice travellers while keeping cost-savings as high as possible.

Air Canada reported last week its first quarter results of a $210-million loss compared with a $19-million loss last year in the first quarter. The airline has also had significant and highly-publicized labour relations problems during the past year.

Meanwhile its competitor WestJet reported a record first-quarter net income of $68.3 million, up 42 per cent from the $48.2 million of last year.

To offset these losses, Air Canada has revealed that it is considering adding a “premium economy class” to target travelers that want the comfort of business class for the more reasonable economy class price. These premium economy seats would feature wider seats and more legroom for passengers for a slightly higher economy price. Air Canada is examining the pros and cons of reconfiguring its existing two-class seating arrangement of economy and business.

“We’re very well familiar with some of the benefits that you can have from having premium economy. The big factor, of course, is measuring the capital costs to transform airplanes. But that’s under study right now.” Air Canada chief executive officer Calin Rovinescu said during a conference call with analysts to The Globe and Mail.

Advocates think that the revenue raised from traveler booking the premium economy class would offset the slippage from passengers in business class who downgrade to economy.

WestJet is countering with the purchase of a fleet of Bombardier Q400s for its new short-haul carrier and the announcement of possible new seat configuration for its larger 737-800s. The additions will sound familiar, including roomier premium seats and a higher-density economy class.

WestJet signed a letter of intent for 20 Q400s, with another 25 on option. The order, which is expected to be firmed up shortly, has a value of roughly $600 million based on list price, but could grow to $1.35 billion if all the options are exercised, according to

It will be interesting to see which airline heavyweight will win the most business travellers.

Read Related Content from the WDM Content Network

WestJet Debuts Electric Baggage Vehicle on Earth Day

Air Canada's Maintenance Company Aveos Shutting Down

Air Canada Debuts the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

April issue of Business Review Canada




Featured Articles

Sustainability, ESG, net zero in focus at must-attend event

Sustainability takes centre stage at two-day hybrid conference featuring thought leaders covering circular economy, scope 3, ESG, B Corp, net zero, DE&I

Must-attend sustainability events for executives in 2022/23

Discuss and debate the most pressing issues around sustainability at these nine executive events – from London to Abu Dhabi, San Diego to Singapore

Meet the CEO on a mission to nurture women leaders in Africa

The argument for women leaders in Africa is compelling, yet numbers are small. But one female leader is on a mission to change that – Awamary Lowe-Khan

BCG's Daniel Weise on supply chain and procurement strategy

Leadership & Strategy

Flexible work perks heat up as the war on talent rages

Human Capital

Meet the COO: Former Israel Defense Force cyber lead Parnes

Technology & AI