The freight carrier adds Liege and Basel to its European destinations serviced with cargo aircraft. Deployed will be a Boeing 767-300F, capable of uplifting 50+ tons per takeoff.
The new service complements the existing flights to Frankfurt and Madrid. Once LGG and BSL are served, the number of freighter flights between the carrier’s main hub Toronto Pearson Airport and European cities will grow to nine per week. And more are to come, announce Air Canada officials.
Some of the intended flights will also stop over at Halifax, Nova Scotia or – depending on locally available volumes – at St. Johns International, Newfoundland before continuing their journey eastbound across the North Atlantic. At the Canadian Maritimes, lobsters and other seafood products are added to the load, much sought after by European consumers. “Here in Liège, all our four ground handling agents run modern and sufficient cool facilities to accommodate any kind of temperature critical shipments at adequate conditions between unloading of the aircraft and onward road transportation,” illustrates Torsten Wefers, VP Sales & Marketing Liège Airport. Following the stopover at LGG, the freighter proceeds to Basel Airport and returns via Liège to Toronto.
Ground handlers are not yet known
Up to this point it is still unclear, which local service provider will handle Air Canada Cargo at Liège and/or Basel. “Our experts from Strategic Purchasing are still evaluating this issue,” explains Michael Sauer, responsible for managing the carrier’s cargo business in central and northern Europe.
However, time is pressing because the Liège flights, operated twice a week, stand on February’s itinerary, while Basel will be added in April to AC Cargo’s intercontinental network. "The fact that Air Canada Cargo, a world-renowned carrier with an excellent reputation, has chosen Liège as its new destination in Western Europe shows very clearly that LGG is highly regarded internationally and recognized as important EU cargo hub," pronounces Mr. Wefers.
High volumes on westbound routes expected
Geographically, the industrial clusters in Germany, France, Switzerland and the Benelux countries are not far away, so most trucks need no more than half a day from the shipper's door to arrival at LGG Airport’s warehouses, he says.
As for the connection between Liège and Toronto, Air Canada Cargo's gateway, he describes this routing as being extremely attractive for European exporters. This way, shippers and forwarders have direct access to the local Canadian and U.S. market but also to Latin American destinations like Bogotá, Lima or Mexico City serviced via Toronto by AC’s passenger fleet, offering abundant lower deck cargo capacity.
More flights are expected
Over in Frankfurt, Michael Sauer is positive that existing frequencies will be increased in the future, as soon as more freighters join the fleet, for example from 4/7 to 7/7 at FRA. Currently, the carrier operates three B767-300P2F conversions but expects to receive two newbuilds this spring. Additional conversions and two production B777F are to follow, totaling 12 all-cargo aircraft by 2024.
Jason Barry goes, Jon Turner comes
On Wednesday (25JAN23) Air Canada announced that Jon Turner, currently Vice President, Inflight Services, has been appointed Vice President, Cargo effective 18FEB23. As an accomplished airline executive with expertise in global strategy, operations and customer service he brings a wealth of in-depth knowledge and business acumen to the cargo team. He succeeds Jason Barry who steps back after only two years at the helm of Air Canada Cargo. He is said to be heading back to the Pacific Rim, where he has already held senior positions at Alaska Airlines and its subsidiary McGee Air Services prior to joining Canada's largest carrier.
Jon Turner has held a wide range of progressively critical, senior leadership roles at Air Canada and other Canadian airlines. These have included Vice President, Maintenance and Engineering, with responsibility for all aspects of Air Canada’s aircraft acquisition, fleet management, global aircraft maintenance programs and airworthiness.With three widebody freighters now in the fleet and nine more to come Mr. Turner will have oversight for leading the strategic direction of Air Canada Cargo’s global business.
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