Flag carrier Air Canada has started operating its aircraft for cargo-only flights through its Air Canada Cargo division to Europe.

The aircraft carries time-sensitive shipments, including medical supplies to combat the coronavirus (Covid-19), and goods to support the global economy. No passengers are transported in the service.

The first cargo-only flights took off from Toronto for Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam.

Air Canada has leveraged its Boeing 787 aircraft capable of carrying 35t of cargo for the service.

The carrier is also planning to operate flights for Latin America and South America.

Air Canada cargo vice-president Tim Strauss said: “Air Canada Cargo has long served as a vital link in global supply chains and with the disruption arising from the Covid-19 pandemic our capabilities are more important than ever.

“We have already begun flights to Europe, and we are planning to expand this program to Latin America and South America, as well as within Canada, including remote communities using Air Canada Express aircraft. In addition to providing a much-needed service, these cargo-only flights are also supporting jobs at Air Canada.”

Air Canada Cargo is also planning to extend this service domestically and working with various governments to evaluate demands and assist in moving relief goods from multiple markets within Canada.

Air Canada Cargo has also created five, segment-specific sales teams, which check customer requirements at different levels in the supply chain to facilitate the cargo-only flights.

Earlier this month, Air Canada scaled down an earlier Boeing 737 Max aircraft order as the airline attempt to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.