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Toronto, Canada - Air Canada's regional subsidiary Jazz has signed an agreement with the Canadian planemaker De Havilland to order 13 freighter conversion kits for its Dash 8-400 turboprops.

The conversion kits will allow the airline to transport medical supply to destinations through its network, where they are needed to fight against coronavirus outbreak.

The kits developed by the Canadian turboprop manufacturer he will transform the 74-seat planes into a configuration called the Dash 8-400 Simplified Package Freighter. Halifax-based Chorus Aviation, which operates on behalf of Air Canada's regional subsidiary, will be the first airline to fly Dash 8-400s in the newly approved configuration.

The modified planes will be operated under the Air Canada Express brand. Although the conversion requires removal of seats, it can be completed quickly De Havilland says. Seat tracks will accommodate 17 cargo nets attached to them. The configuration allows each aircraft to carry up to 8,100kg (17,960lb) of cargo and provide 32.6cb m (1,150cb ft) of cargo space.

Cargo conversions come after Chorus Aviation announced it reduced flying for Air Canada by about 90% in April and May and reduced its workforce by at least 3,000 from 5,000 employees. The company operates 113 aircraft for Jazz, including six Dash 8-100, 23 Dash 8-300, 44 Dash 8-400, 44 CRJ200, 26 CRJ900.
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