Photos, video: Inside Air Canada's new Boeing 787

By David Flynn, March 3 2014
Photos, video: Inside Air Canada's new Boeing 787

Air Canada is set to join the Boeing 787 club this month, with the first of 37 Dreamliners making a short delivery flight from Boeing's Seattle plant to Air Canada's Toronto base ahead of domestic flights to Montreal and Vancouver through to April.

"There will be flights between Toronto and Montreal and some to Vancouver, and maybe a couple other places” confirms Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick.

Those runs are intended to bed down the aircraft, train up the crew and deliver a wave of publicity for the Canadian flag-carrier.

Between May 1 and June 30 the Dreamliners will debut on flights from Toronto to London and Zurich before moving over to full-time routes from Toronto to Tel Aviv and Tokyo’s Haneda airport starting July 1.

Moving to a mixed fleet

Air Canada has six Boeing 787-8s due for delivery this year, but 2015 will split its Dreamliner deliveries between nine more of the original 787-8s and 22 of the larger longer-range 787-9s, at a rate of between six and nine new aircraft a year through to 2019.

“What happened with (our Boeing 787 order) is that it’s actually evolved” Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu told Australian Business Traveller.

“As the aircraft was completed and we saw its capabilities, we needed to shift more to 787-9”, Rovinescu explained, because the stretched Dreamliner had “the capabilities we expected in the 787-8.”

Air Canada’s Dreamliner heading down under

Among Air Canada’s 787-9’s routes will be Vancouver-Sydney, which is currently flown on a Boeing 777-200LR, and potentially a new Vancouver-Melbourne route.

“Vancouver to Sydney is the single longest route we have and the only way we want to do Australia is non-stop” Rovinescu said, and "Melbourne would be logical next destination for us in Australia."

“Our challenge is aircraft. We need the Boeing 777-200LR or the 787-9 to fly non-stop to Australia”.

“We have only a few of the 777-200LRs and if the opportunity comes up to take another 777 to deploy here we’d do it, but realistically until we get the 787-9 series we won't have the aircraft to make this route a non-stop basis.”

Inside Air Canada's first Boeing 787

Air Canada has opted for a three-class layout across 251 seats in the Boeing 787-8 with business, premium economy and economy.

The cabin has been designed for a “contemporary, sophisticated” look, the airline says, using warm natural textiles and fabrics, while the colour palette is based in slate grey “with hints of Canadian red and celeste blue”.

Air Canada Boeing 787 business class

The 20 business class seats, which Air Canada tags as ‘executive pods’, feature a similar mix of privacy and access as we’re seeing in other new international business products such as Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Qantas’ forthcoming Business Suite.

The 1-2-1 layout provides direct aisle access for every traveller, with the solo seats angled towards the window while the two centre seats are angled slightly towards each other.

Each of the middle seats sport a privacy screen which can be lowered if you’re travelling with a partner or colleague.

Seat pitch is 21 inches, while the seats extends to an 80 inch fully flat bed dressed with a 100% cotton duvet and, for that extra touch of indulgence, a new espresso and cappuccino service featuring Lavazza coffee.

Other creature comforts include an 18 inch touchscreen video panel and controller and an amenity kit featuring Canadian-made Escents aromatherapy products.

Air Canada Boeing 787 premium economy

If you’re more ‘budget’ than ‘business’, Air Canada’s premium economy cabin offers 21 seats in a 2-3-2 pattern.

Passengers get a 19.5 inch wide seat with 38 inch pitch and a 7 inch recline.

Each set has its own 11 inch touchscreen panel, USB and AC power socket.

Air Canada Boeing 787 economy

The rest of the 787 is given over to 210 economy seats ranked 3-3-3.

The 17.3 inch wide seats have a 5 inch recline and 31 inch pitch, although their slimine design should afford a bit of extra room around the knees.

To take your mind off the squeeze there’s a 9 inch touchscreen with a USB port and “universal power ports at arms’ reach”, which could mean one shared between 'triple' module of three seats.

For an extended sneak peak at Air Canada's new Boeing 787, watch the video below.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 543

Argh, that 3-3-3 layout again - but business class looks superb.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2209

The Business looks exactly like CX, and the Premium Economy suspiciously like British Airways. But it looks good, and I wish Air Canada well.

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 543

About the Premium Economy: It didn't look like British Airways' new Premium Economy when I first looked, but it is strikingly similar now that I think of it. Good job on pointing that out! Airline trickery, I call that...

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 341

Wish BA had also gone for the same Biz class layout.. Competition is leaving BA in their dust

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 738

That premium economy looks pretty alright.

But if it's like everyone else's premium economy, it'll be 1.5 times the space for twice the price.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1488

I wish. More like 1.2 times the space for triple the price. Though business looks very sleek indeed.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 442

Thos headrests on the Y+ seats are enormous!

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 543

That's one of the hints on why I think it's bought from BA.

09 Dec 2013

Total posts 1

The new Air Canada Premium Economy seat has nothing to do with BA. BA like any other airlines buy seats from independant manufacturers.

Air Canada bought this seat from Recaro as did BA and a lot of other airlines for their Y and PY cabin. 

02 Mar 2014

Total posts 1

there busniess las looks quite similar to qatar only having rcently flown with them

VA Platinum

28 Apr 2013

Total posts 10

Those PE seats look very alike the current QF PE seats, and some domestic/trans tasman business class seats on QF. Just that QF's PE has the previous generation remote controller stuck on the bottom of the centre console, and the TV unit stuck in the armrest though.

QF's PE seat also lacks the drop down foot rest which AC has on their PE seats, which i think is much better than the one attached to the legrest.

What i will be interested in is the function of the metallic looking thing below the cocktail table on the central console, what does it do (other than being equipped with the reclining and legrest extension buttons).

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