- Three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, the largest in Air Canada's fleet are being modified to transport cargo in the passenger cabin, doubling cargo capacity.
- Reconfigured aircraft can carry 89.63 tonnes, the equivalent of up to 9 million medical masks.
- 40 all-cargo flights operated to date, with 20 all-cargo flights being planned weekly.
ATTENTION PHOTO EDITORS:
MONTREAL, April 11, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada today said it is reconfiguring the cabins of three of its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to give them additional cargo capacity. The first aircraft conversion is complete and is now in service, with the second and third aircraft to be completed shortly.
"Bringing critical medical and other vital supplies rapidly to Canada and helping distribute them across the country is imperative to combating the COVID-19 crisis. The transformation of the Boeing 777-300ERs, our largest international wide-body aircraft, doubles the capacity of each flight and will enable more goods to move more quickly," said Tim Strauss, Vice President – Cargo at Air Canada.
"The rapid transformation of some of our aircraft to meet cargo demand reflects our ability to maximize our fleet assets quickly when these aircraft would otherwise be parked. Air Canada's engineering team worked around the clock to oversee the conversion work, and with Transport Canada to ensure all work was certified as tasks were completed. The next two aircraft are on track to be completed and will be in operation within the coming days," said Richard Steer, Senior Vice President, Operations at Air Canada.
The three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft are being converted by Avianor, an aircraft maintenance and cabin integration specialist, at its Montreal-Mirabel facility. Avianor developed a specific engineering solution to remove 422 passenger seats and designate cargo loading zones for light weight boxes containing medical equipment and restrained with cargo nets. This modification has been developed, produced and implemented within six days. All operations have been certified and approved by Transport Canada.
Through its cargo division, Air Canada has been using mainline aircraft that would otherwise be parked to operate cargo-only flights. The aircraft on these flights carry no passengers but move in their baggage holds time-sensitive shipments, including urgent medical supplies, and goods to support the global economy.
Air Canada has operated 40 all-cargo flights since March 22 and plans to operate up to 20 all-cargo flights per week using a combination of the three newly converted Boeing 777s, Boeing 787s and Boeing 777s, in addition to current scheduled flights to London, Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong. Air Canada Cargo has been working with its supply chain partners and shippers to transport medical supplies from Asia and Europe to Canada and will continue exploring additional opportunities as needed in all regions of the globe.
Air Canada Cargo was just awarded the Gold Air Cargo Excellence Award, the only international carrier from North America to be recognized among the 2020 recipients. The Air Cargo Excellence Awards are based on the Air Cargo Excellence Survey (done annually by Air Cargo World). Carriers are ranked by freight forwarders and other customers based on their performance during the previous 12 months.
About Air Canada
Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and international airline. Canada's flag carrier is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2019 served over 51 million customers. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax, which also named Air Canada the 2019 Best Airline in North America. For more information, please visit: aircanada.com/media, follow @AirCanada on Twitter and join Air Canada on Facebook.
About Air Canada Cargo
Air Canada Cargo, the freight division of Air Canada, provides cargo service to over 450 cities worldwide, with self-handled hubs in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Chicago, London and Frankfurt that allow for rapid shipment of goods.
To facilitate the cargo-only flights, Air Canada Cargo has created five, segment-specific sales teams to focus on the unique needs of the customers at different levels in the supply chain. Enquiries from shippers interested in Air Canada Cargo's services may be sent to a special freighter email address that is monitored 24 hours per day AC.email@example.com. Additional information is at: https://www.aircanada.com/cargo/en/.
Avianor specializes in maintenance, modifications and aircraft completion, including a highly skilled internal engineering support team. Avianor has positioned itself as a vertical integrator in the marketplace. The company occupies over 200,000 square feet of hangars, repair shops, fabrication facilities and warehouse space at Mirabel Airport (YMX) and employs more than 350 people. Avianor was acquired in 2019 by the Drakkar & Partner's Aerospace & Ground Transportation Division.
SOURCE Air Canada