Air Canada reconfigures aircraft to carry over 89 tonnes of medical equipment

MONTREAL — Air Canada is going above and beyond to transport medical supplies throughout Canada, including reconfiguring the cabins of three of its aircraft to free up additional cargo capacity.

The three Boeing 777-300ERs are being converted by Avianor, an aircraft maintenance and cabin integration specialist, in Montreal. Avianor developed an engineering solution to remove 422 passenger seats and designate cargo loading zones for lightweight boxes containing medical equipment and restrained with cargo nets.


All this was developed, produced and implemented within six days, and has been approved by Transport Canada.

“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.


With the new reconfiguration, the aircraft can carry 89.63 tonnes, the equivalent of up to 9 million medical masks. Air Canada has operated 40 all-cargo flights since March 22, 2020 and plans to operate up to 20 all-cargo flights per week using a combination of the three newly converted Boeing 777s, Boeing 787s and Boeing 777s, in addition to current scheduled flights to London, Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong.


Air Canada Cargo has been working with its supply chain partners and shippers to transport medical supplies from Asia and Europe to Canada and will continue exploring additional opportunities as needed in all regions of the globe.

“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.

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