Case Studies Air Canada



Air Canada Realizes The Benefits of OnAsset Sensors


OnAsset has a long history of working with the aviation sector. It got its start in aviation and is the most widely approved asset management technology in the highly regulated aviation space. As such, many airlines lean on OnAsset for the monitoring of assets and shipments.

OnAsset has a long-standing relationship with Air Canada, which realized substantial benefits of working with OnAsset via Unilode, the world’s largest provider of unit load devices (shipping containers) for aviation. As a customer of Unilode’s, the airline had leased ULDs that were tagged with OnAsset Sentinel products. ULD tracking and insight on cargo movement was an eye-opener for the airline and prompted it to realize opportunities to deploy OnAsset technology to resolve some of its own challenges.  

The airline also learned that it could leverage the SENTRY network that Unilode has installed in approximately 250 major airports throughout the world. SENTRYs read data from cargo or other assets tagged with OnAsset Sentinel devices and communicate those insights to the customers’ unique monitoring platform. This network opened a world of opportunity for multiple business units within the airline to use one unified technology backbone to relay a host of data on assets at airports the world over.

After running extensive tests of OnAsset products and discovering how well the SENTRY could read Sentinel sensors from all areas of the aircraft — from the fuselage to the galleys, in multiple types of aircraft — and seamlessly relay the data to the airline’s monitoring platform, the airline began its first program with OnAsset – to monitor the aircraft itself.


Air Canada had a unique challenge as a result of having multiple hubs in cold, northern climates. Aircraft that were parked overnight for early morning flights were subject to water and equipment freezing. When this happens, it can take substantial time and effort to recover, resulting in the aircraft being out of service for hours or even days, throwing off schedules, and resulting in very costly canceled flights and frustrated customers.

“After trials with several other vendors, Air Canada chose OnAsset’s suite of asset management and tracking devices. It quickly became the only technology we needed and the spinal cord of our infrastructure, making dumb assets smart.”
– Tom Sohorab, Manager, Cargo Solutions
Strategy & Business Development


Because OnAsset’s equipment was designed from the ground up to be fully compliant for on-aircraft use, the equipment already carried the design standards and documentation necessary to enable this unique use case. The airline placed OnAsset’s Sentinel sensor tags throughout the aircraft, to monitor conditions. OnAsset SENTRY FlightSafe devices relay temperature data over communications networks to the airline’s OnAsset Insight monitoring platform. Overnight ground crews are alerted if temperatures drop below a certain threshold and can implement necessary procedures to prevent freezing.

Additional opportunity

Air Canada is also installing SENTRY FlightSafe readers in its warehouses, with sensors attached to key pieces of equipment. This enables them to:

  • Know where key assets are at all times, improving equipment availability and preventing loss of mission-critical, expensive equipment. For example, pump trucks used to lift a pallet would, from time-to-time, get left behind in a truck. Now the airline can locate and recover those, and the many other non-powered and easily misplaced assets used to service planes and move cargo.
  • With SENTRY FlightSafe readers installed in warehouses, the airline can record environmental readings like temperature and light on tagged shipments, and receive automated alerts when thresholds are breached. This helps to manage the quality and security of shipments and helps the airline keep a close eye on cold-chain cargo.
  • The airline’s SENTRY and Sentinel devices function seamlessly with the ULD tracking and monitoring solution supplied by Unilode, allowing the airline to achieve multiple layers of ROI using a unified technology stack that will continue to present opportunities for expansion and realization of additional benefits in the future.


Being able to monitor pre-departure planes to protect against the cold has yielded significant benefits for this major Air Canada, in terms of on-time and safe departure. Customer satisfaction is hard to measure but everyone wins when there are no surprises and flights take off as planned. While early in its rollout, the airline is also realizing cost benefits from better asset management and plans to continue expanding its network of tagged and monitored assets with OnAsset solutions.

“Going forward, Air Canada is embedding OnAsset sensors and readers into our buildings and aircraft systems with Supplement Type Certificates and production permits. The data from OnAsset sensors connects to the encrypted OnAsset server allowing us to pass the information to our ERP systems to ensure complete and accurate cargo handling.”
– Tom Sohorab, Manager, Cargo Solutions Strategy & Business Development