CargoForwarder Global asked Tim Strauss, Vice President Cargo at Air Canada on his plans for 2018.
CFG: Tim, has the recent cancellation of the Cargojet freighter service had any adverse effects?
Tim Strauss: Not at this juncture. We already had some pretty healthy inter-line partnerships into a few of the areas affected and we are expanding on those. In markets such as Mexico we are expanding our passenger flights from 3 weekly to 7 weekly frequencies which may actually be preferable to a once a week freighter for some customers.
CFG: Which new market segments are you planning for 2018?
TS: We’ll enter a handful of new markets in 2018, but we will wait until our passenger colleagues call these out before announcing them as cargo destinations.
The ones we have so far announced are:
Mexico (MEX) going to a daily operation.
Splitting Santiago de Chile (SCL) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) which now both become direct flights from Toronto, thereby expanding capacity for both cities.
Vancouver to Melbourne expanding to a daily operation.
A number of routes are moving on B787 equipment versus the current A330 or B767 - such as Toronto to Copenhagen and Munich as well as Montreal to London Heathrow and Lyon.
Toronto to Shanghai (PVG) flights upgrade to B777 as well as a second daily Toronto - London Heathrow.
I may add that there are a number of other changes in gauge.
CFG: Is Air Canada Cargo planning own pharma handling facilities in Canada or other locations?
TS: In Toronto for sure. We are in discussions about Vancouver and Mon-treal, which will be determined by the customer requirements.
CFG: Are there any planned cooperation / joint-ventures with cargo carriers or agents in the pipeline?
TS: There are always ideas in the works but nothing that I’m able to discuss currently.
CFG: What else of interest can you reveal to our readers?
TS: We’ll have a couple of things of interest to announce at the end of Q1.
For now we have leased an additional 60,000 sq ft in Toronto to bridge us through our current growth curve; and have doubled our space in Chicago as well as adding new covered storage in Montreal.
We grew revenues by 38% in both Q2 and Q3 2017 and will likely be among the faster growing cargo departments as books close for Q4 and the full year.
We anticipate a strong 2018 as well based on every forecasting metric common to the industry.
I’d like to add that we are looking forward in 2018 to the 29th International Air Cargo Forum & Exhibition (TIACA) which will be held in Toronto. As the national airline of the host country, this event will provide us with a great opportunity to act as host to showcase our unique offering as a cargo carrier, and of course to meet and network with colleagues, customers and partners.
CFG: Tim, thank you for your time, good luck in 2018 and we look forward to your end Q1 revelations.
John Mc Donagh