Air Canada Cargo - Celebrates 80 Years in the Air

Canada’s national carrier, Air Canada, has also benefited a lot from this year’s upsurge in air cargo traffic, as have others. This was pointed out by Tim Strauss, who was recently appointed as Vice President Cargo for the airline in his presentation at this month’s Air Cargo Germany (ACD) meeting in Frankfurt.

L to R: Mathias Jakobi ACD President  /  Tim Strauss, V.P. Cargo Air Canada  /  Michael Sauer, Air Canada Manager Cargo Sales Germany and Northern Europe  /  Christoph Papke, ACD
L to R: Mathias Jakobi ACD President / Tim Strauss, V.P. Cargo Air Canada / Michael Sauer, Air Canada Manager Cargo Sales Germany and Northern Europe / Christoph Papke, ACD

CETA agreement will boost tonnages
Tim, who for many years successfully guided the cargo product of the then Minneapolis-based Northwest Airlines before joining Hawaiian Airlines, took up the top cargo position at Air Canada Cargo in April of this year. Since then, along with his team, Tim has been looking closely at how to better position the carrier’s cargo product in order to meet future demands.
One of the future plus-points for AC Cargo is the CETA Trade Agreement which was signed in September this year, says Mr Strauss. He expects a notable increase in air cargo shipments between the EU and Canada because of this. He also expects no negative change in the trade flows between Canada and the United States despite the political shift out of Washington towards other countries, including Canada.

Passenger fleet is ideal for cargo
Air Canada, which does not have an own freighter fleet, but which partly utilizes Cargojet Canada B767 freighter space as well until December 31, when an agreement between both sides ends due to the resistance of the AC pilot association ACPA, carries the lion’s share of its cargo in the bellies of the long haul fleet. There are 25 B777s, 30 B787s, 34 B767s and 8 A330s in the Air Canada passenger fleet which accommodate most the tonnage in their vast belly space. The carrier operates to a total of 208 destinations from their 7 Canadian hubs, of which Toronto is the largest. The Toronto cargo hub will be further expanded by 2019 into what Tim Strauss terms as a “Smart Hub.” This will include, among other things, updated and more modern data systems which will give customers a more efficient service and reduce costs for the airline as well.
Cargo tonnages, revenues and yields are rising steadily month by month. Much of this is due to the addition of new routes across the globe. In 2017 alone, twenty new routes have been added, such as Toronto to Mumbai, Berlin and Belize as well as new services from the west coast city of Vancouver to Melbourne, Nagoya and Taipei. This year also saw direct flights starting from Montreal to Lima, Marseille and Shanghai. No wonder that tonnages are increasing as worldwide demand for capacity falls nicely into Air Canada’s route structure.


‘Own Handling’ is part of the secret
Many airlines have done away with their own cargo handling in the past few years by outsourcing it to third parties
Not so with Air Canada.
An important part of the company philosophy is to maintain their own documentation and cargo handling as much as possible throughout their network. This was especially pointed out in Mr Strauss’s presentation to the ACD members as being an important step in keeping abreast with customer wishes and ensuring a far better service aspect all round. “Deliver more than a box” - he states. This along with an ever expanding product portfolio, is what Air Canada’s new cargo top man believes goes a long way to customer satisfaction and long-term loyalty.

A lot has changed since 1937
Trans Canada Airlines (TCA), which was founded in 1937, was the forerunner of today’s Air Canada. The first flight, which was an international one, was operated from Vancouver to Seattle. The carrier has mastered many tough periods in those past 80 years, but has always managed to come out on top again.
Tim Strauss and his cargo team have set themselves many targets for the coming few years and despite present global unrest are convinced that the Air Canada fleet composition and their expanding cargo product offerings will lead to even better results in the future.
Tim’s vision of building stronger relationships, furthering service improvements and ensuring full bellies year round seems to be well on its way.

John Mc Donagh

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