Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Rapid growth and innovative services

Rapid growth and innovative services

Since the launch of WestJet Cargo’s dedicated freighters several months ago, the business has reported significant growth and benefits.  

These have included enhanced connectivity between Europe, Asia, and Canada via Calgary, and expanded market reach to stations like Miami (MIA) and Havana (HAV), each with their own scheduled cargo capacity.  

Moreover, WestJet Cargo has introduced the airfreight charter product and flew their ever first charter between Calgary and Houston servicing the oil and gas industry.  

In addition, the airline has served the Vancouver market, operating 20 tonnes of weekly cargo capacity for the transportation of cherries to Asian markets.  

These developments highlight WestJet Cargo’s commitment to meeting the evolving demands of the Canadian market and the broader North American airfreight industry. 

“The introduction of our new four dedicated freighters has significantly boosted our cargo capacity to over 2,000 tonnes weekly. It has also expanded the types of cargo we transport,” Kirsten de Bruijn, Executive Vice President at WestJet Cargo, said.  

“Starting from 22nd April until the end of September, our dedicated freighter has been instrumental in transporting a variety of products and commodities,” she continued.  

In terms of cargo capacity, the top products transported during this period include general cargo, perishables, mail, dangerous goods and pharmaceuticals. These new freighters have enabled WestJet Cargo to efficiently handle a diverse range of cargo types and significantly increase its overall cargo capacity, facilitating the transportation of various products and commodities across its network.  

READ: WestJet Cargo launches inaugural flights to Cuba

Seamless strategy 

To position itself perfectly for this period of expansion, WestJet Cargo strategically assembled a dedicated team of cargo experts to ensure the seamless operation of its cargo services.  

“These professionals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, allowing us to better understand the unique needs of our cargo customers and develop tailored solutions,” de Bruijn said. 

“At the same time, we have consistently worked on expanding our network to reach a broader range of destinations but also our accessibility to various markets, ultimately providing more options and convenience to our customers.” 

WestJet Cargo’s partnership with the GTA Group has been instrumental in increasing its shipping capacity. This collaboration has enabled them to meet the growing demand for cargo transportation and offer more comprehensive services to its customers.  

“Our partnership with the GTA Group has been pivotal,” de Bruijn said. “This strategic alliance has enabled us to meet the demand for cargo transportation and offer a broader range of services to our customers.” 

WestJet Cargo’s collaborative attitude is also visible in its partnership with Jettainer for outsourced Unit Load Device (ULD) management which has also enhanced the efficiency of its cargo operations.  

“By entrusting ULD management to experts like Jettainer, we have streamlined cargo handling processes and optimised our fleet’s ULD utilisation,” de Bruijn added. “This partnership has allowed us to focus on our core competencies while benefitting from Jettainer’s specialised expertise in managing cargo containers and pallets.”  

Digital delivery 

In their pursuit of delivering a state-of-the-art cargo service, WestJet Cargo has partnered with SmartKargo to leverage technology and create a modern platform that streamlines the booking and management of cargo shipments.  

“WestJet Cargo has fully embraced digital innovation within the cargo industry through its strategic partnership with SmartKargo and the utilisation of a state-of-the-art air cargo management platform,” de Bruijn explained.  

This platform leverages innovative technology, to enhance the carrier’s operational efficiency and customer service capabilities. In addition, it has partnered with Wiremind to focus on capacity forecasting enhancements and the renewal of their cutting-edge solution Skypallet.  

 “We’re exploring advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven forecasting mechanisms, integrated into Wiremind’s CargoStack Optimise solution,” de Bruijn stated.  

“This AI-driven system combines machine learning and a sophisticated algorithm to produce precise cargo capacity forecasts, accounting for factors like blocked capacity due to baggage and existing cargo bookings.”  

This digital innovation empowers WestJet Cargo’s teams to make data-driven decisions, ensuring efficient and reliable cargo services for its customers.  

Specialised services  

Passionate about ensuring it has the capability to meet the demands of its customers, tailoring offerings to guarantee cargo is safely, securely and efficiently moved from A to B, WestJet Cargo recently unveiled a new service. 

The launch of Bike’Air marks a notable addition to its specialised services, offering a premium solution for the transportation of motorcyles across Canada, the US, and Europe.  

“With Bike’Air, customers can enjoy the convenience of drop-off and pick-up services tailored to the destination of their choice, ensuring the safe and secure transportation of their valuable motorbikes,” de Bruijn said. 

In addition to Bike’Air, WestJet Cargo is recognised for its expertise in pet transportation and guarantees the well-being of cats and dogs during their journey thanks to a dedicated team and specialised facilities.  

“With the introduction of our new freighters, we have expanded our charter services, providing more capacity for the transportation of a wide range of commodities,” she continued. “Our expert team is experienced in delivering tailor-made solutions to meet the specific requirements of our customers, ensuring efficient and reliable charter services.”  

READ: Innovation delivers operational efficiency

Strong commitment to serving markets 

Alongside its global presence, WestJet Cargo has a strong commitment to serving the North American market.  

The American market in 2023 has proven to be a challenging landscape for cargo operators, especially for new market entrants like WestJet Cargo. 

 Among fierce competition with well-established players, WestJet Cargo has had to vigorously contend for its share of the market. However, despite these challenges, North America remains its home ground, and they are unwavering in their commitment to serving the country and customers with a best-in-class team.  

“Our dedication to delivering exceptional service and meeting the unique demands of this market reinforces our position as a reliable and customer-focused cargo operator in North America,” de Bruijn said. 

“We emphasise our dedication to this region through the expansion of our freighter activity and the enhancement of our belly network in the Americas,” she highlighted. “Our investments in the future of air cargo in this region are clear indicators of our commitment.” 

With the newly installed SATCOM, WestJet Cargo is extending its reach even further, with  ambitious plans to continue developing its footprint in the coming months.  

“WestJet Cargo is poised for growth and is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead in the North American air cargo market,” de Bruijn said. 

Heading into 2024, WestJet Cargo is strategically focused on several key areas to further enhance its position in the air cargo industry. 

These include expanding its portfolio of services to cater to a broader range of customer needs, seeking partnerships with complementary airlines to extend its network reach, exploring the establishment of multiple hubs to optimise logistics, addressing the unique requirements of Canadian territories, and leveraging digital solutions and technology to streamline operations and enhance customer experiences.  

“These strategic priorities underscore our commitment to innovation, growth, and providing top-notch cargo services to our customers in the year ahead,” she said. 

Picture of Edward Hardy

Edward Hardy

Having become a journalist after university, Edward Hardy has been a reporter and editor at some of the world's leading publications and news sites. In 2022, he became Air Cargo Week's Editor. Got news to share? Contact me on Edward.Hardy@AirCargoWeek.com

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