Air Canada flew its last cargo operation with a passenger aircraft converted to temporary freighter. Flight AC 7272, operated on an Airbus A330-300, landed in Toronto (YYZ) from Bogota (BOG). It was the last cargo operation with cabin cargo on A330 and Boeing 777 aircraft.
Airbus A330-300s will return to scheduled passenger service to meet current travel demand, all A330 aircraft will have new Business Class and Premium Economy cabins.
During the pandemic, Air Canada was the pioneer airline in converting several of its passenger aircraft to freighters, temporarily removing cabin seats to double their cargo capacity and move more cargo.
The first model to perform these operations was a 400-passenger Boeing 777-300ER, which took place on April 18, 2022, and was equipped with essential medical equipment for medical personnel. The Canadian flag carrier converted a total of eleven aircraft to temporary freighters.
In response to the drop in travel because of COVID-19, the airline expanded its cargo business to meet the demand for essential medical supplies and the transport of vaccines to Canada to combat the pandemic crisis. Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo quickly converted several Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s, thus avoiding putting more aircraft into storage.
As long-haul flights return and cargo demand remains high, Air Canada Cargo completely converted two Boeing 767-300ERs from passenger to cargo-only, previously sourced from the leisure subsidiary Air Canada Rouge, thereby avoiding massive layoffs of the 767-pilot pool.
Air Canada Cargo continues to expand its cargo fleet, expecting to take delivery of six additional freighter conversions and two additional factory-new 767-300Fs between 2022 and 2023.
«The development and sustainability of this solution is the result of an incredible group effort by several Air Canada departments,» said Dotane Harel, Director of Business Process Engineering and Regulatory.
«These aircraft significantly increased Air Canada’s cargo capacity at a time when it was needed. With mixed feelings, we see this chapter ending and look forward to flying our new Boeing 767-300ER freighter aircraft,» Harel added.
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