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Calgary-based WestJet set to launch dedicated cargo service as part of pandemic strategy

A WestJet Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 (C-FCTK) jet takes off from Vancouver International Airport, Richmond, B.C. on Monday, February 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bayne Stanley

WestJet plans to launch a cargo service using dedicated aircraft starting next year.

The Calgary-based airline says the first of its 737-800 Boeing converted freighters are expected to be in service by the second quarter of 2022.

It says the dedicated cargo flights will work in tandem with its existing cargo business.

The new service comes as airlines look to adapt to the changing demands due to the pandemic.

Read more: Air Canada looks to grow cargo business amid COVID-19 challenges

The announcement follows a move by Air Canada earlier this month to expand its cargo service with new international routes.

Air Canada said last year it would convert several of its retired Boeing 767 passenger aircraft into freighters as a part of its cargo strategy.

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