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Air Canada, WestJet step up Vancouver cargo flights

Cargo volume in and out of Metro Vancouver has been reduced, as travel is limited on highways because of washouts
Part of the increased cargo volume on Air Canada will come on passenger flights using wide-body planes instead of narrower ones | @AirCanada on Twitter

Canadian airlines are increasing cargo flights in and out of Vancouver to ensure needed goods get to store shelves, and manufacturers can get products out of B.C.'s largest population hub.

Air Canada today confirmed that it has "significantly increased cargo capacity" between Vancouver and cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Calgary, between November 21 and November 30.

While highway links have reopened to essential traffic, goods movement in and out of Vancouver has been strained, with reduced volume.

Air Canada said it is adding 586 tonnes of cargo capacity, representing 3,223 cubic metres, to support B.C.'s economic supply chain and public need. That is a 45% increase over its normal cargo volume in and out of Vancouver.

To give a sense of how big the increase is, Air Canada said that the added volume is equivalent in weight to approximately 860 adult moose.

WestJet last week said that it has also increased cargo capacity flying in and out of Vancouver, although it did not quantify exactly how much volume has been added.

"We have increased capacity to our YVR [Vancouver International Airport] hub by using the flexibility of Air Canada's fleet to reschedule 28 passenger flights from narrow-body aircraft to be operated with wide-body Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Boeing 777, and Airbus A330-300 aircraft," Air Canada vice-president of cargo, Jason Berry, said.

"These changes will allow an additional 282 tonnes of goods to be moved across the country on our scheduled passenger flights."

He added that his airline would operate 13 additional all-cargo flights in and out of Vancouver.

"Air Canada is also working with its regional partner Jazz Aviation to provide additional regional cargo capacity by temporarily converting an Air Canada Express De Havilland Dash 8-400 from its normal passenger configuration into a special freighter configuration," he said.

The new configuration enables the plane to carry about 8,165 kilograms of cargo, and it will also be in service this week.

BC Ferries last week also stepped up by adding cargo ferries along the Vancouver Island coast while the island's Malahat Highway was temporarily closed.

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