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Air Canada Cargo yesterday announced the appointment of four industry veterans to key leadership positions within the organisation as it further positions itself for continued growth after a successful 2021.
Peter Laub has been appointed senior director, cargo – USA & Latin America, while three long-standing members of the Air Canada Cargo team have received promotions: Janet Wallace is now senior director, cargo transformation, Milt Fenske becomes director, cargo sales – USA, and Barb Johnston has been named director, cargo operations Canada.
“I am thrilled to be strengthening our senior leadership team at Air Canada Cargo just as we launch our dedicated freighter operations and build on the early successes of our ‘Rivo’ e-commerce platform. These trusted leaders will play a pivotal role in our continued growth and expansion,” said Jason Berry, vice president, cargo, at Air Canada.
Janet Wallace has 28 years of experience with Air Canada. She is skilled in operations management with diverse experience in call centres, airports, inflight and cargo. She will focus on strengthening areas related to engineering, quality management systems, learning and development, procurement and e-commerce at Air Canada Cargo.
Peter Laub brings with him more than 30 years of cargo sales and operations experience from the passenger and freighter markets. His vast experience in freighter operations will be beneficial to Air Canada Cargo’s launch of all-cargo operations with the recent introduction of its Boeing 767-300 freighter aircraft.
In a previous role as vice president of business development at Aloha Air, he oversaw the introduction of Aloha Air Cargo’s Boeing 767-300 freighters.
by Chris Loh | January 1, 2022
Continuing its slow recovery from the worst of the global health crisis, major Canadian airline Air Canada the growth of its fleet in 2021. Notably, this consisted of the addition of a number of Airbus A220-300s as well as several Boeing 737 MAX 8s. Let’s take a glance at where Air Canada’s fleet stands at the start of 2022.
Air Canada’s fleet composition at a glance
According to data from Planespotters.net, Air Canada has the following aircraft in its fleet. The quantities are noted alongside the type, with the change from last year’s report (published June 2021) in parentheses.
Aircraft from Airbus*:
- A220-300: 27 (+5)
- A320-200: 17 (-1)
- A321-200: 15 (no change)
- A330-300: 16 (no change)
*We should note that the airline ordered the A220 when it was still known as the Bombardier CSeries.
Aircraft from Boeing:
- 737 MAX 8: 31 (+7)
- 767-300BCF*: 3 (+3)
- 777-200LR: 6 (no change)
- 777-300ER: 18 (-1)
- 787-8: 8 (no change)
- 787-9: 29 (no change)
*One Air Canada 767-300 has completed its conversion from passenger to freighter. The remaining two are in the process of being converted.
Growing the short and medium-haul fleet
As you can see from the changes since our last Air Canada fleet report, the carrier has gained five Airbus A220-300s and seven Boeing 737 MAX 8s.
As noted previously, there was a little bit of a back-and-forth when the carrier announced it would be canceling some of its orders in November of 2020, which would have seen orders for 12 A220s and 10 737 MAX 8s axed. However, one condition of the Canadian government’s rescue package was that it would proceed with its planned orders for both aircraft types. As a result, the airline has nine 737 MAX 8s and 18 A220-300s still on the way.
Going big on cargo operations
One surprising standout number from our list was the “addition” of three Boeing 767-300s from last year. This change is, again, a bit of a back and forth. During the worst of the crisis, Air Canada had decided to retire its 767s.
However, cargo demand has been soaring amid increased eCommerce activity, decreased transportation capacity, and global supply chain snarls. These factors led the airline to convert its passenger 767s into full freighters, complete with a large door to handle containers on the main deck. Work was, and continues to be, done at IAI facilities in Tel Aviv.
It’s not just 767s and the bellies of passenger aircraft being used for cargo operations. At the time of this article’s publication, the carrier has four of its 16 A330-300s and seven of its 18 Boeing 777-300ERs operating as “preighters” (passenger freighters). These are passenger aircraft which have had their seats removed in order to accommodate freight. Making use of the fleet’s younger jets for reasons unknown, the airline was able to provide additional cargo capacity to Canada’s west coast, which had its main road and rail supply lines cut off from the rest of the country in November, due to extreme and extensive flooding.
by James Pearson | September 20, 2021
Air Canada Rouge, the lower-cost subsidiary and leisure airline of the Canadian flag carrier, took to the skies again in September. With the B767-300ER gone, its 39-strong fleet is now exclusively Airbus. They’re used on 60 routes until the end of the year as it rebuilds its network.
Air Canada Rouge has resumed flying
Air Canada Rouge relaunched with an initial three routes from Toronto: Las Vegas, Orlando, and Regina, in the distant province of Saskatchewan. These were joined by Toronto to Cancun and Tampa a few days later, with all five routes using 200-seat A321ceos.
These were its first flights since February, with the seven-month grounding due to Canada’s non-essential travel ban and the suspension of all flights to the Caribbean and Mexico – two of its essential markets – at the request of the Canadian government. Rouge’s resumption coincided with Canada reopening its borders on September 7th to fully vaccinated foreigners.
Now exclusively Airbus
Rouge’s fleet is now entirely narrowbody, ch-aviation.com shows, with 20 A319s, 14 A321s, and just five A320s. This follows the retirement of its B767-300ERs, of which it had 25 at one point.
Its 767s were, of course, mainly used long-haul, including across Europe and South America, and the type’s routes had an average of 2,378 miles, OAG indicates. At 5,063 miles, Toronto-Athens was its longest-ever 767 route, but Toronto to Las Vegas had the most flights.
Currently, five aircraft are active
According to Planespotters.net and confirmed by Flightradar24, only five of its 39-strong fleet – some 13% – is currently active, all A321s. Its A321 fleet has an average age of just 6.1 years, far younger than its A319s (23.5 years; to be retired) and A320s (14.2 years). The younger A321s were delivered directly to Air Canada Rouge.
No widebodies go hand-in-hand with Rouge previously saying that it’ll concentrate on routes within narrowbody range. Air Canada will instead operate suitably good-performing long-haul routes – many have already switched – in a rejigging of networks and focusing on relative strengths.
One of many examples is Toronto to Edinburgh, which was by Rouge’s 767s and from 2022 will instead be by its parent’s Boeing 737 MAX 8s from June 1st. It’ll compete directly with WestJet. Another: Toronto to Bogota, in Rouge’s hands from 2016, is now by Air Canada’s B787s and A330-300s.
What’s the plan to the end of the year?
Between September 20th and December 31st, Rouge has scheduled 60 routes. Thirty-nine of these are to/from Toronto, with most of the rest from Montreal. With over 2,700 outbound flights planned, the domestic market has almost four in ten departures, comprising eight routes from Toronto.
Toronto to Québec City has the most flights
Some 13 international countries will welcome Rouge’s flights, with the US the most-served, followed by Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and the Cayman Islands. Toronto to Miami has the most international flights, as shown below, although the 456-mile domestic link from Toronto to Québec City (YQB) is the most-served, with 28 weekly departures from November.
- Toronto-Québec City
- Toronto-Thunder Bay
- Toronto-Las Vegas
- Toronto-Fort Myers
5 July 2021
When worldwide travel was dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, it had severe consequences on the movement of goods around the world by air as passenger flights, which carried up to 59% of air cargo globally, disappeared almost overnight.
The Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo teams understood that transporting critical medical and other vital supplies was imperative to combating the COVID-19 crisis, in Canada and globally. As passenger flights were suspended, Air Canada Cargo immediately began operating cargo-only flights in the belly of unscheduled passenger aircraft to meet the urgent demand for cargo transport. Simultaneously, work was being done to reconfigure the passenger cabins of some aircraft and implement a cargo-only flight schedule to keep the economy and the supply chain moving.
July 5, 2021, marks the 10,000th cargo-only flight for Air Canada Cargo, AC7251 from Toronto to Buenos Aires. Those 10,000 flights, including regularly scheduled operations and special on-demand flight, have carried everything from PPE for our healthcare heroes, critical vaccines, food, mail and even pets back home to their loved ones in Australia.
“It is remarkable that Air Canada is marking its 10,000th cargo-only flights since March 2020, a major accomplishment under the difficult circumstances. The pandemic changed our business at unprecedented speed, and the collaboration and creativity across branches and teams has been a defining moment for the Cargo group, and all of Air Canada,” said Jason Berry, Vice President, Cargo at Air Canada. “The cargo-only flights, which include both scheduled and on-demand flights, have helped provide stability in the global supply chain at a time when distributing essential and vital supplies was critical.”
Air Canada Cargo has been able to achieve this milestone thanks to the hard work of hundreds of dedicated employees across all branches of the company, its supply chain partners and the support of its customers, who came together to find solutions.
“10,000 cargo-only flights is just the beginning and our future is bright. Montreal cargo really worked hard this past year and we are all very proud of that,” said Mamun Ansari, Cargo Service Manager in Montreal.
“Our 10,000th cargo-only flight means we have been resilient during these challenging times. We have been able to adapt, be part of the necessary supply chain moving things such as vaccines,” said Tanith Pinto, Cargo Service Manager in Toronto.
“It is a moment to be proud of and specifically at Air Canada Cargo to see how we have evolved during the course of the pandemic,” said Thomas Getzie, Cargo Service Manager in Vancouver.
“It is just great for the Frankfurt team to know that we have been an important part of the success story. I believe the entire cargo team can really be very proud,” said Leandro De Souza, Area Sales Manager – Cargo – Germany.
“Launching these cargo-only flights during a global pandemic remains, for all of us who were involved, a career highlight. I know I speak for all my colleagues on the Asia-Pacific team when I are proud to represent Air Canada,” said Brayden Zhou, Cargo Manager.
Air Canada set up its network of cargo-only flights using Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Boeing 777 and Airbus A330-300 aircraft on international routes.
Air Canada was also the first airline in the world to go to market with reconfigured widebody passenger aircraft, having removed the seats in the cabin to allow for light freight. Air Canada has converted a total of 11 aircraft, a mix of Boeing 777s and A330-300s.
The evolution at Air Canada Cargo will continue this fall with the arrival of the first of several dedicated freighter aircraft, giving its global customers reliable and predictable capacity.
“As passenger flights pick up, we look forward to continuing to serve our cargo customers and facilitating the movement of goods by air through belly capacity and continued cargo-only flying as we prepare for the arrival of our first Boeing 767-300ER freighters in the fall,” Jason Berry concluded.
MONTREAL, June 14, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo today announced the initial list of planned routes for the Boeing 767-300ER freighters scheduled to enter service this fall. Air Canada is in the process of fully converting several of its Boeing 767 aircraft into dedicated freighters in order to fully participate in global cargo commercial opportunities.
When the first converted 767 freighters enters service in October, they will fly primarily out of Toronto Pearson International Airport, and will operate on routes linking Toronto to Miami, Quito, Lima, Mexico City and Guadalajara, the first time Air Canada Cargo will serve this destination. Additional destinations to be served in early 2022, include Halifax, St. John’s, Madrid and Frankfurt as more freighters enter service.
“These freighters will provide long-term stability and growth for our cargo customers, in particular the freight forwarding community who require reliable air freight capacity year-round. They will allow us to continue building on the success of our cargo-only flights and are an important part of our future growth. I am excited to have these aircraft enter service, a milestone for Air Canada Cargo that also opens up a world of opportunities for us and our customers,” said Jason Berry, Vice President, Cargo at Air Canada.
Air Canada has begun the process of converting certain of its Boeing 767s that have been retired from its passenger fleet into fully dedicated freighters. As part of that process, all seats are removed from the aircraft, a large door is cut into the fuselage to allow for loading of palletized cargo, and the floor is reinforced to carry additional weight. Air Canada Cargo plans to have two freighters in service by the end of 2021, with more to join the fleet in 2022.
The addition of dedicated freighter aircraft to Air Canada’s fleet will allow Air Canada Cargo to provide consistent capacity on key air cargo routes, which will facilitate the movement of goods globally. With these freighters, Air Canada Cargo will enhance 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.
In the fall of 2020, Air Canada successfully concluded a collective agreement amendment with its pilots represented by the Air Canada Pilots Association for contractual changes to enable Air Canada to competitively operate dedicated cargo aircraft in the cargo marketplace.
Since March 2020, Air Canada has operated more than 9,000 all-cargo flights using its wide-body 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.
by Sumit Singh, Deputy Editor | May 2, 2021
At the Paris Air Show in June 1997, Airbus shared details about its Airbus A340-600 motives. Amid the excitement, it didn’t take long for Air Canada to order the plane. It was one of the first airlines to place an order for the variant, but it would cancel the deal approximately a decade later.
During its reveal, the A340-600 was highlighted to transport up to 378 passengers, which was a significant figure as it was only 25 fewer than many variants of the Boeing 747. Air Canada was keen to take on new widebodies that year, ordering eight new A330s and A340s. These planes had a list price of $1.4 billion at the time, which is a figure approximate to $2.1 billion today.
According to The New York Times, the flag carrier of Canada had an option to take on extra planes, starting with five units split between A340-600s and A340-500. It also had options to acquire 10 additional planes from 2002.
A FlightGlobal report from July 2008 shares that Air Canada initially deferred the delivery of three -600s to 2004. This deferral was then extended to 2010. However, the carrier ended up canceling the whole order.
Notably, the 9/11 attacks shook up the aviation industry across the world. Even though the overall financial impact isn’t as considerable compared with the current crisis, for its time, the situation was tough, and numerous airlines struggled. Due to the challenges that carriers faced, there were several fleet reshuffles and strategy changes.Advertisement:
Air Canada’s approach shift can be noticed with its wider fleet. Several aircraft types had left the carrier in the years after 9/11. The McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 and Bombardier CRJ100 were phased out of mainline operations in 2002. After that, Boeing 737-200 747-400, and 747-200M and Fokker F28 Fellowship left in 2004. Moreover, the 767-200 left in 2008.
Most notably, Air Canada’s other A340 variants were also let go during this period. According to Planespotters.net, the A340-300 stopped service for the airline in November 2008. Two A340-500s also joined the company in the summer of 2004. However, both C-GKOL and C-GKOM left for Brazil’s TAM three years later, in November 2007.Advertisement:
A good call
Looking back, the decision to cancel the A340-600 was the right one. Gargantuan quadjets swiftly struggled to find a consistent place in aviation in the 2010s. Thus, several carriers have been rapidly phasing out the likes of the A340, A380, and 747 in preference of modern, twinjet options.
Today, most of the airlines that took on the A340-600 no longer operate the plane. Now, only a handful of major airlines fly it. Looking at Air Canada’s fleet strategy in recent years, the carrier may have found itself also retiring the aircraft sooner than later.
Carrier has long had plans for medium widebodies
By Charles Kauffman and Jeff Lee | 10 March 2021
Hangzhou-based YTO Cargo Airlines has acquired a pair of sister 767-300ERs (33423 and 33424, ex-Air Canada) and will have them converted to freighter configuration by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) [FATs 006023-6026]. The freighter redeliveries are expected by the third quarter this year, YTO confirmed to Cargo Facts. Once the twenty-four-pallet-capacity freighters enter service with YTO […]
By Chris Loh | February 13, 2021
With its continued efforts to diversify its revenue streams and capitalize on the demand for cargo transportation, Air Canada is hoping to convert seven of its retired Rouge Boeing 767s by the end of 2022. Nearly two years away from this goal, the airline at least hopes to have two of the conversions complete by the end of 2021.
2020 was a devastating year for many airlines, including Air Canada. As part of its recent earnings reports, the Canadian carrier quantified its heavy losses by showing that it took an overall operating loss of nearly C$3.8 billion (nearly US$3 billion). To Air Canada’s leadership, it was “the bleakest year in the history of commercial aviation.”
Despite the gloomy situation, the airline highlighted some of its successes and achievements over the course of 2020. This included its ability to quickly pivot to cargo-only operations and reduce cash burn. Part of this expenditure-reduction sadly resulted in the retirement of 79 aircraft and the cancelation of some new aircraft orders, namely some Airbus A220 and 737 MAX jets.
As the airline continues to face hard-hitting international travel restrictions imposed by the government of Canada, it is hoping that cargo operations will have a larger part of its revenue stream.
Capitalizing on cargo
The initial pivot to cargo-only flights took the form of modifying its passenger aircraft to allow for freight in the passenger cabin. This was first seen on some of the carrier’s Boeing 777s and carried over to an Airbus A330. These weren’t full-on cargo conversions, however. Instead, the airline removed seats and installed netting and floor-markings (to ensure safe weight-distribution across the passenger deck).
As part of the airline’s Q3 2020 earnings call, it was revealed that there were plans to convert some retired Boeing 767s into permanent freighters. The 767s most recently had flown as part of the Air Canada Rouge brand.Advertisement:
Since that call, Air Canada has managed to strike an agreement with its pilots for an appropriate level of pay for cargo flights. The airline said this had to be done to remain competitive with other freight carriers.
Now, as part of the airline’s most recent earnings call, we have a little more clarity on the timeline for these 767 conversions.
767 conversion timeline
Lucie Guillemette, Air Canada’s EVP & CCO, noted in the call that the airline’s first two freighters are expected to be in service in time for this year’s fourth-quarter peak airfreight season.
With seven 767s on the list for conversion, it looks like the remaining five will be converted next year, in 2022. This was confirmed by the carrier’s current Chief Financial Officer and future Chief Executive during the earnings call in which Simple Flying attended:
“We’d love to have all seven up and operating by the end of next year. These are typically little bit of a longer process and slots are not really available, but we are certainly working on having all seven up and running by Q4 of next year.” – Michael Rousseau, deputy chief executive officer & chief financial officer, Air Canada
Rousseau’s comments on conversion slot availability allude to the fact that aircraft conversion services are seeing high demand from air operators to convert old passenger aircraft into freighters.
Apart from the two being converted this year, it looks like Air Canada will just have to wait further back in line to have the majority of its old 767s converted.