Air Canada Cargo freighter operations are underway

By Damian Brett

CGI Air Canada B767 freighter. Source: Air Canada

Air Canada Cargo’s first dedicated B767-300ER freighter aircraft has been put into service as the carrier re-launched freighter operations.

On December 9, the converted aircraft operated its inaugural flight from Toronto to Vancouver carrying a full load of cargo.

The first flight took place earlier than expected – and not on the original route – to meet high demand levels in the British Columbia province as it continues to recover from  major floods late last month.

Given the immediate demand for cargo capacity, the first freighter entered service without its final livery. At a later date, it will be painted in an Air Canada Cargo variation of the Air Canada livery introduced in 2017.

Jason Berry, vice president, cargo, at Air Canada, said: “Our first freighter is being deployed earlier than initially planned in order to provide additional cargo capacity needed into and out of Vancouver to meet ongoing demand as a result of the flooding that disrupted British Columbia’s transportation network.

“The freighter is planned to operate 12 trips between our Toronto and Vancouver cargo hubs. Our teams have also worked extremely hard over the last several days to get our freighter into service early to aid in the transport of goods to Vancouver.”

The freighter aircraft is expected to operate between Toronto and Frankfurt for the remainder of 2021, in addition to the flights to Vancouver

“In 2022, primarily out of Toronto, it will also serve Miami, Quito, Lima, Mexico City and Guadalajara,” the carrier said. “With additional airports including Madrid, Halifax and St. John’s planned when the second aircraft is delivered in the first half of 2022.”

Matthieu Casey, senior director, cargo global sales and revenue optimisation, added: “We are excited to be providing this much needed peak-season capacity where it is needed most, and we look forward to taking delivery of additional freighters as we operationalize our strong, global network in early 2022.”

In total, the carrier plans to convert eight of its B767 aircraft into a freighter configuration.

The Boeing 767-300ER freighters will allow Air Canada Cargo to offer five different main deck configurations, increasing the overall cargo capacity of each aircraft to nearly 58 tonnes or 438 cu m, with approximately 75%  of this capacity on the maindeck.

“The freighters will allow Air Canada Cargo to increase its capabilities to transport goods such as automotive and aerospace parts, oil and gas equipment, pharmaceuticals, perishables, as well as handling the growing demand for fast, reliable shipment of e-commerce goods,” the airline said in a press release.

Since March 2020, Air Canada has operated more than 13,000 all-cargo flights globally using its widebody passenger aircraft as well as certain temporarily modified Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft, which have additional available cargo space due to the removal of seats from the passenger cabin.


Air Canada adds cargo capacity to help maintain British Columbia supply chains

Air Canada Cargo prepares to launch freighter operations


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