Air Canada looks to grow cargo business
MONTREAL — Air Canada pilots have ratified changes to their contract that will help the carrier grow its cargo business as airlines scramble to minimize the pandemic’s toll on their bottom lines. The Montreal-based airline said Friday that it would convert several of its retired Boeing 767 aircraft to carry freight and that it had appointed a new executive, Jason Berry, to oversee its cargo division.
“Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo have pivoted quickly to new and unique commercial opportunities in response to evolving market conditions over the past 11 months,” said Lucie Guillemette, Air Canada’s executive vice-president and chief commercial officer.
The airline has looked to cargo as a potential opportunity in an otherwise bleak year.
In May, Air Canada announced it was adding flights to Bogota, Lima, Amsterdam, Dublin and Madrid to its cargo service, which includes up to 100 international all-cargo flights per week.
With fewer flights, and less cargo being transported in the luggage compartments of passenger aircraft, the price of shipping cargo by air has increased. Other airlines such as American Airlines and United Airlines, have begun operating cargo-only flights this year, hoping to use the opportunity to stem their losses.
Air Canada said the contract changes will help it operate more competitively in the cargo business. Michael McKay, chairman of the Air Canada Pilots Association’s master elected council, said the organization’s members voted on the revised agreement this month.