HALIFAX, NS, April 21, 2023 / - WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group today celebrated the inauguration of the second of three 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters in Halifax 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 six 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 Halifax celebration is the second of three inaugural events, taking place across Canada.

"We are thrilled to be celebrating this long-awaited milestone in Halifax, a core hub for WestJet Cargo that will connect our freighter service to Atlantic trade lines," said Kirsten de Bruijn, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Cargo. "Our Halifax hub unlocks unlimited potential to facilitate the distribution of a diverse variety of cargo products, including fresh seafood across Canada and enables WestJet Cargo to meet the large demand for freighter service across the east coast."

"Today is an exciting day for the GTA Group as we celebrate and welcome this highly anticipated moment in Halifax. 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

"The addition of this cargo freighter service by WestJet opens one more avenue for our businesses to reach new customers. That means more opportunities to showcase our quality products, new investment to continue to drive the innovation we need to grow our economy and secure our future, and jobs in communities across Nova Scotia," Honourable Susan Corkum-Greek, Minister of Economic Development

"We're thrilled to welcome WestJet Cargo to Halifax Stanfield, strengthening our position as Atlantic Canada's air cargo hub," said Joyce Carter, President & CEO, Halifax International Airport Authority. "Air cargo export activities provide significant economic value to Nova Scotiaand the entire Atlantic Region, and the introduction of WestJet Cargo's services in our market will provide more options for shipping popular Nova Scotia products, including live lobsters, to destinations across Canada and around the world."