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WestJet Cargo on June 23 announced its new cargo service, which will utilize 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCFs) as its dedicated aircraft. The company said its decision to expand with next-gen freighters was a “natural evolution,” and will “fulfill the larger-scale needs of Canadian businesses, freight forwarders, shippers, and individual customers.” The first 737-800BCF is expected to be in service by the second quarter of 2022.
Currently, WestJet uses its passenger aircraft and commercial routes for shipments. WestJet Cargo’s expanded service and new freighters will allow the company to “have additional frequency and be able to plan new, customized routes . . . based on the needs of our cargo customers.”
With its expanded network and flight plans, WestJet Cargo said it will also be looking to expand its team.
The company plans to grow its fleet of 737-800BCFs throughout 2022, and the aircraft will work in tandem with WestJet’s existing cargo business and 737 pilots.
“WestJet Cargo’s ability to ship on dedicated freighters or in the cargo hold on commercial routes provides cargo customers with increased reliability, flexibility, and capacity to transport their diverse shipments to their chosen destination,” the company said.
The 737-800BCF features more advanced CFM engines, increased range of 2,570 nautical miles, and 12 main deck pallet positions. The aircraft also offers greater fuel efficiency.
“Our new dedicated commercial cargo aircraft . . . will provide cargo customers with the reliable on-time performance and competitive cost advantage synonymous with WestJet,” said Charles Duncan, WestJet executive VP of cargo, and president of the WestJet-owned ultra-low-cost carrier, Swoop.
Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO, added: “As we launch our dedicated cargo service, into a market that maintains an even greater need for competitive choice than what we saw in 1996, it is our commitment to provide customers with more choice, decreased costs, and exceptional customer service.”