Air Canada eyes Boeing 787s instead of 777s as air freight challenges take over

Air Canada recently decided to cancel its order with Boeing for two factory-built 777-300 freighters, signaling a shift in strategy due to the ongoing challenges in the airfreight industry. The carrier is currently grappling with the air freight industry’s 18-month recession, which has significantly impacted its cargo revenue. Air Canada’s decision is part of its ongoing efforts to replace less efficient aircraft in its fleet and optimize cargo and passenger operations.

Instead of the 777 cargo jets, Air Canada has opted to order 18 Boeing 787-10 passenger aircraft, exhibiting the airline’s commitment to adapt to the changing market conditions and prioritize more efficient widebody aircraft. It is expected that the 787s will be delivered towards the end of 2025.

While the specific reasons for canceling the 777 freighter order were not provided, it reflects the broader challenges faced by logistics operators and their need to adjust investment plans. Additionally, the decision aligns with the industry’s anticipation of a strong recovery in international air travel.

The cancellation demonstrates how difficult conditions in the logistics sector are impacting operators and forcing changes in investment plans. It also reflects the strong recovery in international air travel that is expected to continue.

Despite the decline in cargo revenue, Air Canada continues to adapt and expand its cargo fleet, with plans to retrofit existing passenger jets for cargo transport and further conversions in the pipeline. However, the prolonged downturn in the air cargo market is also having ripple effects, as seen with other airlines and aerospace companies facing challenges in the freight sector.

Air Canada Cargo currently operates six medium widebody freighters. Since launching a dedicated cargo airline in January 2022, Air Canada has deployed four used Boeing 767-300 passenger jets retrofitted to carry cargo containers and in May received two production 767-300 freighters directly from Boeing. A conversion house is expected to deliver one more 767-300 by the end of the year. Three more aircraft are scheduled to be converted next year, bringing the fleet to 10 aircraft by the end of 2024.

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