Air Canada reconfigures aircraft to expand cargo capacity

Aviation Updates Philippines – Air Canada temporarily reconfigured three Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft as a dedicated freighter variant to increase cargo capacity on medical cargo missions across Canada.
CABIN MAKEOVER. Aircraft specialists at Avianor have transformed this Air Canada Boeing 777-300ER into a temporary freighter aircraft. Photo from Air Canada, handout
"Bringing critical medical and other vital supplies rapidly to Canada and helping distribute them across the country is imperative to combating the COVID-19 crisis. The transformation of the Boeing 777-300ERs, our largest international wide-body aircraft, doubles the capacity of each flight and will enable more goods to move more quickly," said Tim Strauss, Vice President – Cargo at Air Canada.

Based on Air Canada's press release, the three freighter-dedicated Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will be converted at Avianor's facilities, aircraft maintenance and cabin integration specialist, in Montreal. The airline said Avianor will be able to remove all 422 seats across the cabin within six days.

These aircraft will be used to transport and distribute essential medical equipment in Canada as the country continues to arrest the COVID-19 pandemic. As of posting, Canada reported 23,318 confirmed cases of the disease with 653 fatalities.

"The rapid transformation of some of our aircraft to meet cargo demand reflects our ability to maximize our fleet assets quickly when these aircraft would otherwise be parked. Air Canada's engineering team worked around the clock to oversee the conversion work, and with Transport Canada to ensure all work was certified as tasks were completed. The next two aircraft are on track to be completed and will be in operation within the coming days," said Richard Steer, Senior Vice President, Operations at Air Canada.

Air Canada said the reconfigured Boeing 777-300ER fleet will significantly complement its existing cargo operations. More than 40 cargo-only flights aboard the airline's mainline fleet have been flown. It plans to operate up to 20 cargo flights per week using its reconfigured Boeing 777 and 787 fleet.