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EYE IN THE SKY: Air Canada unveils upgraded Airbus A321

A pilot’s-eye view of the take-off due to new exterior cameras connected to the aircraft’s seatback entertainment system is just one of the features on Air Canada’s upgraded Airbus A321, which the carrier unveiled to passengers on flight AC692 on the weekend.

The new camera feature, a first for a narrow-body aircraft, is one of several innovations unveiled on the upgraded Airbus A321, which has been redesigned from nose to tail.

Air Canada’s fleet says it is continuing to invest in its fleet of Airbus A321s and A320s, which will feature a new cabin interior, new technologies and services such as Bluetooth audio, and free high-speed internet sponsored by Bell.

The remaining 14 Airbus A321s and eight A320s will be retrofitted starting this fall through to the end of 2025. With the upgrades, customers will benefit from an elevated narrow-body cabin experience, in line with the cabins of the Airbus A220 and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that comprise the majority of Air Canada’s narrowbody fleet.

The new cabin also reduces the overall weight of the A321 by approximately 240 kg, which will reduce fuel consumption for the entire fleet once the work is completed by more than 2.4 million litres and reduce GHG emissions by 6,256 tCO2 equivalent per year, or the equivalent of the electricity used annually by 4,185 Canadian homes.

Highlights of new cabin features:

Larger overhead bins – Latest Airbus Airspace XL design, the largest overhead bins in-class that will also be installed on the Airbus A321XLRs.

Upgraded seating – Presents a standardized product across the Air Canada narrowbody fleet in both Business Class and Economy. The new seats are designed to optimize passenger personal space, improve ergonomics, and provide more storage giving customers a more comfortable experience.

Bluetooth audio – Air Canada’s newest IFE system will feature a Bluetooth-enabled seatback monitor. Customers will be able to connect their personal headsets while watching video on demand, live TV, or listening to podcasts or music. This initiative helps reduce usage of single-use headphones and supports Air Canada’s sustainability objectives in reducing waste.

New exterior cameras – Customers can now watch their flight live thanks to a new first-in-class narrowbody tail and belly camera system providing high-resolution, real-time video of the aircraft exterior.

Full colour LED mood lighting – New cabin lighting system will allow different ambiances to be set depending on time of day and phase of flight.

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi – Upgraded satellite-based connectivity.

Power options at all seats – All customers have access to power outlets, USB-A, and USB-C.

The new IFE system being installed on the Airbus A321 and A320 fleets will feature Air Canada’s in-flight entertainment via screens at each seat, offering the most extensive content overall of any airline in the Americas. Customers can watch live TV on their flights with this new cabin, featuring BNN, CTV, LCN, RDS, TSN1 and TSN2, including when flying over the US.

“We’re proud to welcome customers on board to experience the comfort, convenience, and connectivity of our latest cabins. These upgraded fleet interiors will align the A320s and A321s to the highly popular A220 experience, further strengthening our industry leading product offering,” said Mark Nasr, Executive VP Loyalty and Product at Air Canada.

“Additionally, new features such as our inflight entertainment system streaming exterior aircraft camera feeds, Bluetooth connectivity, and free, fast internet connectivity will be extremely popular with travellers. We will continue advancing our product leadership by trialing more new in-flight experiences with this A321 and expanding those learnings to additional aircraft in our fleet.”

First published at Travel Industry Today

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