Air Canada on Wednesday appointed Jon Turner to replace Jason Berry, who is leaving to help run a small U.S. regional airline, as vice president of cargo.
Turner is currently vice president of in-flight services and will take on the cargo role effective Feb. 18.
Berry surprised the airfreight community this month when he resigned to be vice president of operations at Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Seattle-based Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK). Sources said his decision was based on family considerations. Berry will return to the Seattle area where he lived for many years prior to joining Air Canada two years ago.
Turner has moved up the leadership ranks at Air Canada (OTCUS: ACDVF), gaining expertise in global strategy, operations and customer service. He also served as vice president, maintenance and engineering, with responsibility for the airline’s aircraft acquisition, fleet management and airworthiness. He also was president and CEO of Sky Regional, a Canadian airline that operated under the Air Canada Express brand, and before that as executive vice president at Air Transat.
Turner became president of operations for leisure carrier Air Canada Rouge in June 2019 before assuming the helm of Air Canada’s inflight service branch.
Air Canada turned to a Canadian native to head the cargo division after previously hiring Americans Berry and Tim Strauss, who now runs Miami-based Amerijet.
Berry’s departure comes as Air Canada makes a major strategic shift into the all-cargo sector. He was the architect of the cargo expansion, and industry experts say the company could experience some transition challenges with the change in leadership, especially since Turner doesn’t have direct cargo experience.
Turner will oversee how to maximize revenue opportunities for Air Canada’s three Boeing 767 converted freighters, as well as seven more on the way, plus two Boeing 777 freighters scheduled for delivery in 2024.
On Monday, Air Canada said it will begin scheduled freighter service to Liege, Belgium, next month, with flights to Basel, Switzerland, slated to begin in April.
The carrier will operate two cargo flights per week to Liege, with service increasing to three flights per week later in the year. Basel, a major pharmaceutical hub, will get two flights per week. The flights will originate in Toronto, where Air Canada has a recently expanded temperature-controlled facility, with a stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The new routes are in addition to the recent start of service to Dallas, Atlanta and Bogota, Colombia, as Air Canada Cargo continues to expand its freighter network.