It was in November 2018 that the Irish airline Aer Lingus announced its intention to open the Montreal-Dublin route starting in August 2019 with brand new A321LRs. The company has also announced that the cabin of the A321LR will be configured in two classes; economy class and business class that will be equipped with lie flat seats. In addition, the A321LRs on transatlantic routes will continue to continental cities of Paris, Munich and Zurich after a stop in Dublin. This strategy aims to take a portion of the business customers of two alliances; Sky Team (Air France, Delta) and Star Alliance (Air Canada, Lufthansa and SWISS).
This will force Air Canada to accelerate its reflection about putting lie flat seats in some single-aisle aircraft on the North Atlantic; it already offers the Montreal-Dublin route with the B737-MAX8, but apart from the width, the size of the business class seats on this type of aircraft corresponds to those of the Premium Economy available on wide-cabin aircraft such as the A330, the B777 and B787.
With Aer Lingus, the price of a round trip between Montreal and Dublin is $ 795 in economy and $ 3695 in business. Air Canada offers the same round trip at $ 752 in economy and $ 2,394 in Premium Economy. A business class traveler who wants to go to Munich with Aer Lingus should pay $ 3,767, while it would cost him $ 4,311 with Air Canada in business class, but for a direct flight.
Air Canada is currently evaluating the cost-effectiveness of having lie flat seats in single-aisle aircraft such as the A321; on transatlantic flights, the selling price of these seats provides a good profit margin, but if the aircraft were to be used on Canadian domestic routes from time to time, the business class selling price may be too low to warrant such investment. Aer Lingus’s decision to install lie flat seats in its A321LR could force Air Canada to do the same, especially since the four used A321CEOs that it has just acquired are capable to fly the Montreal-Dublin or Toronto Dublin route.>>> Follow us on Facebook and Twitter