New cargo service from WestJet/GTA lifts off from HSIA

The ribbon is cut by the special guests on hand for the launch of the enw WestJet Cargo GTA Companies service at HSIA. (Healey photo)

HALIFAX STANFIELD: A new cargo airliner has taken off from Halifax Stanfield International Airport (HSIA), meaning Nova Scotians could expect to get their online orders from places like Amazon faster and be able to send their cargo to elsewhere quicker.

WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group celebrated the inauguration of the second of three 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters in Halifax alongside integral partners and key stakeholders on April 21.

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.

This will fulfill the large-scale needs of businesses, freight forwarders, shippers, and individual customers across North America.


In an interview after the announcement, which included remarks from HIAA’s Joyce Carter; Economic and Development Minister Susan Corkum-Greek; and Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon, representing HRM, on behalf of Mayor Mike Savage, the Executive VP Cargo with WestJet spoke to The Laker News.

Kirsten de Bruijn. (Healey photo)
Kirsten de Bruijn speaks at the announcement. (Healey photo)

Kirsten de Bruijn said she was very happy to be at HSIA for the launch. The first flight from N.S. was set for 4 a.m. on April 22.

“It’s been a long-awaited time,” she said. “We did a lot of work to get this off the ground.”

de Bruijn said the staff at WestJet Cargo were filled with happiness and nervous anxiety as the dream became reality.

“The team worked very hard, and we had many people involved,” said de Bruijn. “Not just the cargo team, but the entire WestJet team, pilots, flight operations.

“The cooperation of the entire WestJet team and GTA Company made this possible. We couldn’t have done it without everyone involved.”

Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon. (Healey photo)

Deagle Gammon was there on behalf of HRM mayor Mike Savage to bring greetings from the municipality on the inauguration celebration.

“This is a very special day as WestJet enters into the cargo industry,” she said.

“You couldn’t have chosen a better location than YHZ, positioned as Halifax’s Gateway with access to five 100 series highways and minutes from the Logistics Park in Burnside, 15 minutes to the urban city of Halifax, and the Port of Halifax.

She thanked WestJet for choosing Halifax Stanfield as they enter the air cargo industry and providing employment opportunities to Haligonians and Nova Scotians.

HRM Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon spoke on behalf of Mayor Mike Savage. 9Healey photo)


Mario (Mauro) D’Urso, Chairman of The GTA Group of Companies, said the launch was an exciting day for the company.

“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 D’Urso. “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’re thrilled to see these freighters take flight as we strive to provide exceptional service to all of our customers and their business needs.”


The 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,” said de Bruijn.

“This celebration signifies a green light to do just that, as we strive to meet the needs of Canada’s expanding cargo market.”


Economic and Development Minister Susan Corkum-Greek speaks on what the service means to the province. (Healey photo)

Corkum-Greek said the addition of this cargo freighter service by WestJet opens one more avenue for N.S. 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,” said Corkum-Greek.

HIAA’s Joyce Carter. (Healey photo)

Joyce Carter, President, and CEO with HIAA, said the addition of WestJet Cargo strengthens their position as Atlantic Canada’s air cargo hub.

“Air cargo export activities provide significant economic value to Nova Scotia and 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,” said Carter.