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WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group celebrate inauguration of dedicated freighter in Toronto

TORONTO, April 20, 2023 /CNW/ - WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group today celebrated the inauguration of the first of three 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters in Toronto alongside integral business partners and key stakeholders. The event was commemorated by a ribbon cutting at WestJet's Toronto hangar, signifying the launch of WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group's dedicated freighter service that will fulfill the large-scale needs of businesses, freight forwarders, shippers and individual customers across North America. WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group's Toronto celebration is the first of three inaugural events, taking place across Canada, with events in Halifax and Vancouver, to follow, respectively.

"We are thrilled to be celebrating this long-awaited milestone in Toronto, a core hub for WestJet Cargo and home of the GTA Group," said Kirsten de Bruijn, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Cargo. "As Canada's largest global hub, Toronto is a vital destination for our dedicated freighter operation that will enable WestJet Cargo to plug into a vast network of cargo entering the country and allow us to seamlessly execute the distribution of this cargo to its final destination across Canada."

"Today is an exciting day for the GTA Group as we celebrate and welcome this highly anticipated moment in Toronto. This joint venture with WestJet Cargo will without a doubt, strengthen our position to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Canadian cargo market," said Mario (Mauro) D'Urso, Chairman of The GTA Group of Companies." The capacity of the four dedicated freighters, will bring customers new competitive options by providing more air freight capacity to cargo customers who depend on reliable and on-time performance. We are thrilled to see these freighters take flight as we strive to provide exceptional service to all of our customers and their business needs."

WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group's dedicated freighters will now begin operating between its designated hubs in Halifax, Calgary, Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto and Vancouver. Integrating into the WestJet Group's existing network, WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group's dedicated freighters will work in tandem with the cargo carrying bellies of WestJet's fleet, creating global connectivity and opening trade lanes between Canada and the Caribbean, Europe, Japan and the United States.

"Our incredibly talented team at WestJet Cargo is eager to disrupt Canada's underserved air cargo market, by bringing competitive cost advantages, increased choice, reliable on-time performance and exemplary customer service. Today's celebration signifies a green light to do just that, as we strive to meet the needs of Canada's expanding cargo market," continued de Bruijn.

In addition to the broad range of commodities already carried by WestJet Cargo such as perishables, ecommerce and live animals, the dedicated freighters have enabled a broad expansion of the carrier's service offerings, including the capacity to carry oversized items and unitized ecommerce containers.

"It is an honour to celebrate this accomplishment amongst our key partners and stakeholders, each of whom played an important role in making today happen. The take-off of our dedicated freighters is a significant moment for Canada and the communities we serve, as we strengthen our ability to expand upon the essential products we carry across and beyond the country," concluded de Bruijn.

Additional quotes

"As a proud Canadian leader in the industry, WestJet has always been on the cutting edge of transportation innovation," said Caroline Mulroney, Ontario's Minister of Transportation. "The new Cargo Freighters will help suppliers get their resources, businesses get their goods, and stimulate our economy by improving our efficiency to produce right here in Ontario."

"We are pleased to welcome WestJet to our cargo services at Toronto Pearson. Fast and efficient transportation of goods is crucial to businesses today, and we're proud of Pearson Airport's important role in driving our economy forward," said Janik Reigate, Director, Strategic Customer Relationships, GTAA. "We are excited to work with WestJet to meet the needs of businesses, freight forwarders, shippers and individual customers across North America who require prompt and reliable delivery of their cargo."

"WestJet is as important a player as the City of Mississauga is in the transportation and shipping industry. Today, we celebrate the success of WestJet at the same time that Mississauga and the region surrounding Toronto Pearson have many successes to applaud. We, at the Mississauga Board of Trade, are happy to be a facilitator in connecting important players in business no matter the industry," Trevor McPherson, President and CEO, Mississauga Board of Trade.

About WestJet Cargo

A dedicated division of the WestJet Group of Companies, WestJet Cargo provides air cargo services to businesses, freight forwarders, shippers and individual customers. Providing safe, reliable air-shipping for customers and businesses, WestJet Cargo utilizes the expansive network of WestJet's wide and narrow-bodied aircraft and its newly introduced fleet of four dedicated Boeing 737-800 Converted Freighters (BCF) to meet the diverse needs of its cargo customers. For more information on WestJet Cargo please visit:

About WestJet 

In 27 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 110 destinations in 24 countries. 

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Recent recognition includes: 
2020/2019 Number-One Ranked Canadian Airline Loyalty Program in Member Engagement (Bond Brand Loyalty)  
2019/2018/2017 Best Airline in Canada (TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Airlines) 
2019 Winner Among Mid-Sized Airlines in North America (TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Airlines) 
2019/2018 Number-One-Ranked Airline Credit Card in Canada (Rewards Canada) 

SOURCE WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership

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