DALLAS — WestJet Cargo (WS) has finally received approval from Transport Canada certifying the airline’s Boeing 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF). The certification was ten months behind schedule.
After the certification, WS will immediately implement these three freighter aircraft into service. These BCFs will be used on dedicated routes within North America. The airline is expected to receive its fourth 737-800 BCF later this year after converting it to a freighter aircraft.
The lengthy certification process has proved to be a severe setback for WS. Initially, the airline planned to start service with two Boeing 737-800 BCF aircraft in June 2022, with the second 737s scheduled to join in the second half of 2022.
However, because the aircraft was not certified, WS was forced to pay for parking and other fees at Calgary International Airport (YYC) for the three freighters the airline already took possession of them from its aircraft lessor in 2022, where the three freighters were based until they could enter service.
WestJet Cargo will work with the GTA Group, which will help the aircraft enter service quickly. The first departure is scheduled for April 22, 2023. Mainline WS cargo 737 pilots will operate these freighter aircraft. The freights will start service to destinations across North America, including Toronto, Calgary, Halifax, Vancouver, Miami, and Los Angeles.
The Boeing 737BCFs will be equipped with CFM56-7B engines giving the aircraft better fuel efficiency. Bookings for the WS cargo aircraft will be available starting on April 1, 2023.
Comments from WestJet, GTA Group Officials
WestJet Executive Vice-President, Cargo, Kirsten de Bruijn commented, “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.”
The WS VP thanked Transport Canada for its dedication to certifying these aircraft, “which will serve to better support Canada’s national transportation supply chain through increased competition and capacity within Canada’s air cargo market.”
Mario D’Urso, Chairman of the GTA Group of Companies, commented, “Today is an exciting day for the GTA Group as we celebrate this highly anticipated moment that will bring our partnership with WestJet Cargo to new heights…Through the capacity of these four dedicated freighters, we are now in an excellent position to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Canadian cargo market.”
Featured image: C-FJWS WestJet Cargo Boeing 737-800 (BCF) CYYC. Photo: Brandon Siska/Airways