WestJet Cargo poised to enter regional air cargo market

A WestJet Cargo Boeing 737 freighter in flight.
Photo Credit: WestJet Cargo

Canadian carrier WestJet’s cargo subsidiary, WestJet Cargo, recently received an approval from Transport Canada, certifying the carrier’s 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter aircraft.

The approval signals a potentially bright future for the company, and the freighters will shortly be seen airborne as the first departure is now scheduled for April 22, 2023.

Armed with its new approvals, WestJet Cargo now positions itself as a potential new disruptor to the regional cargo market.

Approval Received

WestJet Cargo recently received approval from Transport Canada and an official certification to the company’s four Boeing 737-800 BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter) aircraft.

Following the certification, the operator put three of the Boeing 737 freighters into service, as the dedicated aircraft to meet the needs of businesses across the North America region.

As for the fourth of the Boeing 737 aircraft, it is set to join the rest of the fleet later in 2023 as the airframe is currently undergoing conversion.

The cargo airplanes will seamlessly integrate into the current operations and will be operated by WestJet with the initial focus being North America – serving a range of cities like Calgary, Los Angeles, Miami, Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax.

Disrupting the Canada air cargo market

The air cargo market in Canada is a significant contributor to the Canadian economy, and it has been growing steadily over the years. In 2020, the Canadian air cargo market was valued at approximately CAD 5.5 billion.

The market is primarily driven by the country’s strong trade relationships with the United States, China, and Europe, which are major import and export partners of Canada. In addition, the rise of e-commerce has led to an increase in demand for air cargo services in Canada, particularly for express delivery services.

The major players in the air cargo market in Canada have traditionally included Air Canada Cargo, FedEx, UPS, and DHL.

These companies operate in major Canadian airports such as Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, and Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

With WestJet Cargo now suitably armed with its Canadian certification, the carrier is positioning itself to disrupt the status quo and increased competition through the national industry.

WestJet Executive Vice-President, Cargo, Kirsten de Bruijn, highlighted this in a recent statement following their grant of Canadian certification, saying:

“Today is a long-awaited milestone for WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group, that will now enable us to disrupt the air cargo industry in Canada by providing our customers with more choice, competitive prices and the exemplary customer service synonymous with the WestJet brand, but unique to the air cargo industry.”

Kirsten de Bruijin stated that the move would “better support Canada’s national transportation supply chain through increased competition and capacity within Canada’s air cargo market.”

She concluded by saying the move took WestJet Cargo “one step closer to fulfilling our mission to bring competitive cost advantages and reliable on-time performance to Canada’s underserved cargo landscape.”

There is also a large cargo market between Canada and the United States, as the two countries share one of the world’s most extensive trade relationships. The Canada-U.S. border is the longest international border in the world, and trade between the two countries is significant.

In 2020, Canada exported CAD 449.5 billion worth of goods to the United States and imported CAD 316.1 billion worth of goods from the United States.

The air cargo market between Canada and the United States is also significant, with many major air cargo carriers operating flights between the two countries.

It will be interesting to see how the new player WestJet Cargo fares in the marketplace.

About WestJet Cargo

A dedicated division of the WestJet Group of Companies, WestJet Cargo provides air cargo services to businesses, freight forwarders, shippers and individual customers.

The cargo operation utilizes the expansive network of WestJet’s wide and narrow-bodied aircraft and its newly introduced fleet of four dedicated Boeing 737-800 Converted Freighters (BCF) to meet the diverse needs of its cargo customers.

By Adrian Olstad 5 Min Read
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