MONTREAL — Air Canada has boosted cargo capacity into and out of Vancouver after widespread flooding cut key supply links to southern British Columbia.
In a release Monday, the airline said it is adding capacity "equivalent in weight to approximately 860 adult moose" in order to haul products to Vancouver from Toronto, Montreal and Calgary between Nov. 21 and Nov. 30.
"The economic supply chain is vital, and to help support the urgent transport of goods into and out of British Columbia, we have increased capacity to our YVR hub," Jason Berry, vice-president of Cargo, said in a statement.
He has swapped out narrow-body planes for wide-bodies on 28 flights, drawing on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 777 and Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
The passenger planes — the largest in Air Canada's 330-aircraft fleet — will be able to haul nearly half of the additional 586 tonnes of capacity.
A further 13 all-cargo flights on wide-body planes will transport the other half to "help move mail and perishables such as seafood, as well as automotive parts and other industrial goods," Berry said.
In southern B.C., crews are working around the clock to clear highways and repair rail lines and dikes after floods and mudslides destroyed vital infrastructure.
The devastation followed torrential rains that began Nov. 14 due to an atmospheric river, displacing hundreds of residents and leaving at least four people dead.
Air Canada said Monday it has increased the number of seats available to customers in Kelowna and Kamloops since Nov. 17 by using larger aircraft on routes that touch down in B.C.'s Okanagan Valley.
The Montreal-based company is also working with partner Jazz Aviation to ramp up regional cargo capacity by temporarily converting a De Havilland Dash 8-400 from its normal passenger layout into a special freighter configuration.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2021.
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Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press