American Airlines is utilising their currently grounded passenger aircraft to move cargo between the United States and Europe.
The first cargo-only flight departs from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) tomorrow, March 20th, landing at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) March 21st. The Boeing 777-300 will operate two round trips between DFW and FRA over the course of four days, carrying only cargo and necessary flight personnel. This is the first scheduled cargo-only flight since 1984, when American retired the last of its Boeing 747 freighters.
The 777-300/ER has 14 cargo positions for large pallets and can carry more than 100,000 pounds. American said that the four scheduled flights this weekend are expected to be booked to capacity and transport medical supplies, mail for active U.S. military, telecommunications equipment and electronics that will support people working from home, and e-commerce packages. The flights provide much-needed cargo capacity for many of the airline’s regular cargo customers, allowing them to continue operating in this challenging environment.
Air cargo has always played a key role in times of crisis, delivering lifesaving medical supplies and materials to keep the world’s infrastructure intact. In the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, this role has never been more important; as the world relies more on e-commerce to support basic needs, especially during quarantines and social distancing.
“We have a critical role to play in keeping essential goods moving during this unprecedented time, and we are proud to do our part and find ways to continue to serve our customers and our communities,”Rick Elieson, President of Cargo and Vice President of International Operations
Domestically, American continues to carry cargo on all of their planes. This week the airline also transported their first shipment of COVID-19 test kits from Raleigh-Durham to Chicago.