Air Canada has started using its aircraft to
operate cargo-only flights to Europe and has plans to launch cargo
flights to Latin America and South America as well.
The aircraft on these flights carry no passengers
but move time-sensitive shipments, including medical supplies to
combat COVID19, and goods to support the global economy.
“Air Canada Cargo has long served as a vital link
in global supply chains and with the disruption arising from the
COVID19 pandemic our capabilities are more important than ever,”
said Tim Strauss, Vice President of Cargo, at Air Canada.
“Although we have announced very significant temporary capacity
reductions and our passenger flights are largely dedicated to
bringing Canadians home, Air Canada’s aircraft and our expertise
in handling cargo are valuable assets that we can use to move
medical supplies and other essential goods to keep the world
economy going. We have already begun flights to Europe, and we are
planning to expand this program to Latin America and South
America, as well as within Canada, including remote communities
using Air Canada Express aircraft. In addition to providing a
much-needed service, these cargo-only flights are also supporting
jobs at Air Canada.”
The first cargo-only flights departed from
Toronto this past week for Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam, which
are all both important business centres and connection points for
onward cargo shipments.
The flights were operated using Boeing 787
aircraft capable of carrying 35 tonnes of cargo, the equivalent of
about 80 grand pianos.
Shippers and freight forwarders using the
service are charged a flat rate for both directions and Air Canada
Cargo is also introducing a fractional program, so shippers who do
not require a whole aircraft can book space.
Air Canada Cargo is also
exploring opportunities to offer this service domestically and is
working with various governments to assess the demand and assist
in moving relief goods from multiple markets within Canada. This
includes using smaller Air Canada Express regional aircraft to
operate to less-well served, smaller or remote regions in Canada
with medical and other emergency supplies in support of local
Air Canada does not operate cargo aircraft,
instead its Air Canada Cargo division manages and markets excess
belly space on the airline’s regular passenger flights for
shippers operating worldwide. To facilitate the cargo-only
flights, Air Canada Cargo has created five, segment-specific sales