Air Canada To Launch Transatlantic Freighter Routes

The carrier plans to have eight converted Boeing 767 freighters in its fleet by next year.

Credit: Air Canada
A second Boeing 767-300ER converted freighter is joining Air Canada's fleet.

Air Canada will commence all-cargo transatlantic flights in May, connecting Toronto (YYZ) to four European cities.

The new cargo routes are made possible by the delivery of the carrier’s second Boeing 767-300ER converted freighter. The airline’s first converted 767 freighter was delivered by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in December, and Air Canada has used that aircraft to operate cargo flights to Latin America.

“The entry into service of our second freighter is yet another exciting milestone in the growth of our freighter network and provides more options and services to the cargo community,” MD commercial-cargo Matthieu Casey said in a statement.

Starting in May, Air Canada will launch 767-300ER freighter service from YYZ to Cologne (CGN), Frankfurt (FRA), Istanbul (IST) and Madrid (MAD). The routes to CGN and IST will be operated 1X-weekly, while the YYZ-FRA route will be flown 2X-weekly and the YYZ-MAD service will be operated 3X-weekly.

Air Canada will also launch two domestic all-cargo routes from YYZ: 5X-weekly service to Halifax (YHZ) from April 19 and 6X-weekly flights to St. John’s (YYT) from May 1.

The Canadian flag-carrier entered the permanent freighter business by sourcing eight 767-300ERs from its passenger fleet and contracting with IAI to convert the aircraft into freighters. The first of the converted freighters joined the airline’s fleet in December. Three more will come in the 2022 third quarter and the final three will be delivered in 2023. 

YYZ serves as the hub for Air Canada's new freighter fleet. The carrier has said it is operating all-cargo flights from YYZ to Guadalajara (GDL) and Mexico City (MEX) in Mexico; Lima (LIM) in Peru; and Quito (UIO) in Ecuador.  

Air Canada VP of cargo Jason Berry told Routes when the first converted freighter was delivered that the airline is fully committed to maintaining a dedicated freighter fleet for the long term. “This is not a fly-by-night charter or ad hoc operation,” Berry said. “It really is about stability and growth for our cargo business.” 

Berry said the freighter fleet will differentiate Air Canada from other major North American airlines that do not have dedicated all-cargo flights. “We’ll be the only [passenger/cargo] combination carrier with a widebody freighter fleet that has a hub in North America,” he noted.