Air Canada Returns to Prestwick

Wednesday 01 May, 14:50 Europe/London
Air Canada has returned to Prestwick Airport for the first time in 30 years with a special on-demand flight  – a momentous occasion marking a significant milestone for our cargo business.

The airline, which operated a minimum three weekly cargo flights until 1994 as well as a regular passenger service, made its comeback in the form of a cargo plane, reigniting the iconic presence of the Canadian maple leaf at Prestwick Airport.

Its return evoked much nostalgia and excitement among aviation enthusiasts with photographers braving a cold to capture its early morning arrival and former airport employees, who previously worked with the Air Canada flights, returning to see this Air Canada Boeing 767-300

Prestwick, with its strategic location, served as a pivotal gateway connecting Canada and Europe for many years, fostering strong economic ties between the two continents. The return of Air Canada’s presence at the Airport comes at a time when cargo operations is playing an increasingly vital role in global supply chains as the world economy continues to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prestwick Cargo Services offers a seamless solution for cargo with no restrictions, congestion or curfews on inbound or outbound flights. There is 24/7 availability and rapid processing times means cargo moves on with ease. Our in-house team also offers customers greater flexibility.

Jim McCall, the Airport’s former cargo manager, made an emotional return to the airport yesterday to watch the Air Canada land in the early hours of Friday morning along with his daughter Claire. He was hoping to get a photograph of Claire beside the plane as she posed on the steps of the last Air Canada plane at Prestwick in 1994.  Our ground handling team members were happy to make this happen and invited Jim, Claire and three other retired Airport staff airside to view the plane and chat to the crew.

Jim, who started his aviation career working for Air Canada Cargo at Prestwick, said: “I was most fortunate to get a summer temporary job with Air Canada Cargo in 1968 and did not go back to university as the airline ‘bug’ took over my life. I spent 29 great years with AC, based at Prestwick and London and would not change a single day or memory of that time. I am so pleased to see an Air Canada Cargo freighter back in Prestwick, and I sincerely hope both can work together in the future to their mutual advantage.

Jim also met up with former Air Canada colleagues Tommy Hay and Wilson Wight and shared memories of their time working together at Air Canada Cargo. Claire said: “There was a lot of reminiscing and it was patently clear that all three thoroughly enjoyed their time with AC at PIK. They share the kind of loyalty to their colleagues and employer that the current generation likely never will.

“My Dad had long hoped for AC freight to return to PIK so watching that flight land at silly o’clock on Friday morning was non-negotiable. Once it landed he said, ‘now I can retire’ because he felt that objective had been achieved.”

Prestwick’s Director of Cargo Nico Le Roux said: “It was great to welcome back Jim, his daughter Claire, Tommy Hay and Wilson Wight back to the airport for the iconic return of Air Canada. While this charter was arranged on short notice, it presented a valuable opportunity to showcase our aircraft and cargo handling proficiency. Air Canada Cargo remains a top priority for us, and demonstrating our capabilities through this exemplary operation will bolster their confidence in considering Prestwick for scheduled services. I commend the handling and cargo teams for their outstanding performance. Well done, Team Prestwick!