WestJet To Launch A New Dedicated Boeing 737 Cargo Arm

Canada’s WestJet is moving to boost its cargo operations. The Calgary-based airline is launching a new dedicated cargo…

WestJet To Launch A New Dedicated Boeing 737 Cargo Arm

Canada’s WestJet is moving to boost its cargo operations. The Calgary-based airline is launching a new dedicated cargo service, using 737-800 Boeing Converted Freight (BCFs). WestJet expects to have its first dedicated freighter in the air by this time next year.

WestJet is beginning dedicated freighter flights in 2022. Photo: WestJet

“Our new dedicated commercial cargo aircraft are a natural evolution of the competitive guest services WestJet has successfully provided over our 25-year history,” says WestJet Cargo Executive Charles Duncan.

The right-sized plane for the standard body freighter market

Boeing calls its 737-800BCF aircraft the right-sized plane for the standard body freighter market. The fuel-efficient aircraft features CFM engines, a payload of 22.7 tonnes (there are 12 main deck pallet positions), and a 2,230 mile (3,750 kilometer) range.

“It (the 737 freighters) will provide cargo customers with the reliable on-time performance and cost-competitive advantage synonymous with WestJet,” Duncan said.

WestJet will start with one 737-800BCF aircraft. This plane is currently slated to start flying in the second quarter of 2022, with more planes in the pipeline.

Like most commercial airlines, WestJet has long used its passenger aircraft to fly freight. The 737-800BCFs will work in conjunction with the existing freight capabilities. WestJet says having dedicated freighters will offer customers greater flexibility and efficiencies.

“Dedicated, cost-efficient, and nimble narrowbody freighters will make WestJet Cargo a dynamic and strong competitor,” says Duncan.

WestJet-Boeing-737-Cargo-Arm-getty
WestJet has always carried freight on its passenger services. Photo: Getty Images

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Canceled passenger flights highlight vulnerabilities in global supply chains

The past 15 months have highlighted the role commercial airlines play in the supply chain, especially for perishable and time-sensitive freight. The vulnerabilities of the supply chain were exposed as airlines like WestJet curtailed their passenger schedules in response to the travel downturn.

Since then, many airlines have begun paying their formerly neglected freight operations some attention. Freight operations have since helped financially prop up many airlines and subsidize underperforming passenger operations.

Competitor Air Canada saw the value of freight last year and began converting older Boeing 767-300ERs from its Rouge fleet into dedicated freighters. Seven 767-300ERs are currently undergoing passenger to freighter (P2F) conversions by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Recently Air Canada said its first converted 767 freighters would soon begin flying to Central and South America.

WestJet-Boeing-737-Cargo-Arm-getty
WestJet thinks its dedicated freighters will offer Air Canada some much-needed competition. Photo: Getty Images

Boeing 737-800BCFs help put WestJet into the box seat

WestJet is slightly slower off the mark. But the airline sees its dedicated cargo aircraft as a competitive alternative to the Air Canada product.

“Our collective goal at WestJet has been to provide competitive prices and superior service levels,” said , WestJet, President and CEO. “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.”

With scheduled international passenger flights still significantly down, airlines with dedicated freighter aircraft have an edge in capturing cargo market share. Boeing says the dedicated freighter market will grow more than 60% to 3,260 planes over the next two decades.

Boeing forecasts air freight between North and South America to grow 2.6% annually over the next two decades. Air freight between North America and North Asia (including China) is expected to grow 4.3% annually. With its previous experience operating international services, WestJet is positioning nicely to capture a piece of the action.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Edelweiss Resumes 2 Hour Airbus A340 Flights To Pristina

Edelweiss Air, the leisure airline of Lufthansa Group’s Swiss International Air Lines, is resuming widebody services to Kosovo…

Edelweiss Resumes 2 Hour Airbus A340 Flights To Pristina

Edelweiss Air, the leisure airline of Lufthansa Group’s Swiss International Air Lines, is resuming widebody services to Kosovo this summer. The Airbus A340 aircraft will make a comeback on the Zurich-Pristina route three times weekly in July and August as a capacity upgrade for the A320.

Airbus A340 aircraft will come back to Kosovo this summer. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia

Two-hour A340 flights from Zurich to Pristina to return

Swiss International Airlines is responding to high demand between Switzerland and Kosovo again by re-introducing widebody flights on its Zurich-Pristina route through its leisure airline, Edelweiss Air.

Edelweiss will operate its Airbus A340-300 between early July and late August this summer every Monday, Thursday, and Friday for this two-hour flight.

This three-weekly scheduling of the A340 on the route is a relatively low frequency; last summer Edelweiss operated widebodies from Zurich to Pristina as much as twice daily during the peak summer months. It is likely that the A340 will make an appearance in Kosovo more often than it is currently scheduled to.

Edelweiss’ Airbus A340 aircraft feature 314 seats in total, of which 27 are in Business Class, 75 are in Economy Max, and 211 are in standard Economy. Its Business Class seats are lie flat, and its Economy Max class offers 15 centimeters (five inches) more legroom than standard Economy.

Edelweiss Airbus A340
Edelweiss’ Airbus A340 aircraft have been landing in Pristina for years now. Photo: Getty images

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Flight timings

The Airbus A340 will be deployed on this two-hour flight as follows:

  • Flight WK402/LX8402 departing Zurich (ZRH) for Pristina (PRN) at 06:25, arriving at 08:25 on Mondays and Thursdays, and five minutes earlier on Fridays
  • Flight LX8403 is the sole code for the return service, departing PRN at 09:55 and arriving in ZRH at 11:55 on Mondays and Thursdays, and five minutes earlier on Fridays.

On Saturdays, Edelweiss is deploying its own Airbus A320 aircraft for this rotation. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays, SWISS is sending its own metal. There is also a second daily rotation on this route, in the evenings, every day, but no wide-body aircraft are scheduled to operate it (yet).

SWISS A320
SWISS and Edelweiss will both deploy Airbus A320 aircraft between Zurich and Pristina. Photo: SWISS

Tickets for the outbound flight, from Zurich to Pristina, are on sale on SWISS’ and Edelweiss’ website, but tickets for the return leg from Pristina to Zurich are only on sale on SWISS’ website. It is standard practice for airlines operating in Kosovo to sell their tickets through tour operators and independent travel agents. This is also the case for Eurowings, which has a base in Pristina.

This means that a passenger traveling on this Edelweiss flight from Pristina to Zurich on Sundays will purchase their flights on the SWISS website, fly on a SWISS aircraft with SWISS’ crew, and even have a SWISS flight code printed on their ticket, but it will still be an Edelweiss flight.

Will you be flying on Edelweiss’s two-hour Airbus A340 services to Pristina this summer? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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