Air Canada is now loading cargo in the cabins of four reconfigured B777s. To provide additional capacity for our growing number of cargo-only flights, an additional three A330s have also been reconfigured.
This project required a tremendous amount of planning and coordination from several branches, including Maintenance, Cargo, Airport Operations, and Flight Operations. In addition to determining the optimal cabin layouts and loading positions, the team created new Master Operating Plans (MOPs) and detailed, customised processes for safe and efficient use of each aircraft type for freight (including loading and unloading).
"Because Air Canada was the first passenger airline to market with seats removed for cargo in cabins, we worked closely with Transport Canada to obtain certification to reconfigure and operate the aircraft," said Dotane Harel, Manager, Regulatory and Operations Process Engineering. "The work we've done supported a thorough risk assessment and development of national guidance material for this type of complex operation. We're particularly proud to have received approval for two distinct cabin configurations and operational missions that the B777 and A330 offer."
To ensure that the added cargo space was used to its full potential, the team also developed an algorithm to provide a loading plan based on box dimension and weight, as well as a dashboard to help report weight and balance. Customers and Cargo agents were also provided with clear specifications so that packages adhere to space constraints in the overhead bins and load constraints on the floor of the cabin.
"The collaboration on this project from the many branches of the company has been extraordinary, and Maintenance have been our strongest partners in seeing this project through. Everyone involved brings their own unique expertise, whether its engineering, procedures, regulatory, commercial, operational or safety," Dotane added.
"Despite the short time frame for this project, the team never compromised on quality or thoroughness, and extensive planning and testing was completed prior to every inaugural flight," he said. "The entire team is focused on preparing new stations and routes that will operate with this non-traditional cargo loading, applying the Plan Do Check Act cycle to improve and deliver on our promise to our customers and colleagues during this very difficult time."