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WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group's celebration tour concludes with third inauguration of dedicated freighter in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BC, April 25, 2023 /CNW/ - WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group today celebrated the third inauguration of its 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters in Vancouver alongside integral partners and key stakeholders. The event was commemorated by a ribbon cutting, signifying the launch of WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group's dedicated freighter service in one of the carriers five hubs, 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 Vancouver celebration is the last of three inaugural events, that took place across Canada.

"We are thrilled to be celebrating this long-awaited milestone in Vancouver, a core hub for WestJet Cargo that will connect our freighter service to the Pacific coast," said Kirsten de Bruijn, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Cargo. "Our Vancouver hub is essential to connecting WestJet Cargo to Asia's robust trade lines to Canada, enabling us to seamlessly execute the distribution of incoming valuable cargo products to their final destinations across Canada."

"Today is an exciting day for the GTA Group as we celebrate and welcome this highly anticipated moment in Vancouver. 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 these 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 begin operating between its designated hubs in Calgary, Halifax, 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 air cargo market, by bringing competitive cost advantages, increased choice, reliable on-time performance and exemplary customer service, to Canada's underserved air cargo market. 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 key partners and stakeholders, each of whom played an integral 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," continued de Bruijn.

Additional quotes

"BC's economic strength is the skilled workers and inspiring companies connecting the province to expanding prosperity.  I'm excited to see the new opportunities that will be unlocked by WestJest Cargo and what it will mean for people and businesses across the province," said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests and Minister responsible for the Consular Corps. "Getting B.C. made and grown goods to market continues to be foundational to our success and the quality of life in our province. This service will contribute to the success of delivering B.C. quality made products to the world."

"YVR is proud to welcome WestJet to our airport's cargo community, celebrating this important milestone as one of our valued long-term partners," said Andy Margolis, Vice President, Operations & Chief Operations Officer, Vancouver Airport Authority. "We have a shared duty to meet the growing needs of our community and the economy that supports it. This new freighter service from WestJet will facilitate the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of goods as well as enhance the connection of cargo to and from our region."

"Air cargo is a truly essential link in Canada's supply chain. Here in Richmond, over 500 freight, logistics and cargo companies are directly involved in helping Canadian products reach the global market and bringing needed products to Canada. This link is critical for everyone from our British Columbian fishers, and farmers, to our engineers in advanced manufacturing. Today's inaugural flight of WestJet Cargo's dedicated freighters will further strengthen our supply chain, and help ensure WestJet's safe, reliable air shipping is there for the customers and businesses who need it," said Shaena Furlong, President and CEO, Richmond Chamber of Commerce.

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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