Air Canada announces routes for expanded cargo capacity
An empty Air Canada check-in counter is seen at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
HALIFAX -- Air Canada has announced a list of new international routes that will be a part of its cargo service expansion this fall.
The Canadian airline said Monday the cargo-only trips will primarily fly out of Toronto starting in October and connect the city to Miami, Quito, Ecuador, Lima, Peru and Mexico City.
The new flights will also be mark Air Canada's first cargo trips to Guadalajara, Mexico.
The company said last year it would convert several of its retired Boeing 767 passenger aircraft into freighters as a part of its cargo strategy.
Halifax, St. John's, N.L., Madrid and Frankfurt will be added to the cargo destination list by early 2022 as more freighters enter service, the airline said.
The new freighters will improve its ability to transport goods including automotive and aerospace parts, oil and gas equipment, perishables, pharmaceuticals and other goods.
Air Canada spokesperson Kevin Mio said in an emailed statement on Monday the cargo arm of the airline has operated more than 9,000 cargo-only flights since entering the sector in March 2020.
Mio also said by October 2021, Air Canada will have one dedicated freighter in operation and another will come online before the end of the year.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Walter Spracklin said in a note to investors the firm believes the recent announcement will allow Air Canada to take advantage of a growing shift in international air cargo.
Spracklin said the shift has been marked by an increase in demand for fast and efficient air fright service and a decrease in belly space on international routes.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.