American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) has announced that it will fly some cargo-only planes to Europe in the next few days using the 77-300 passenger planes as a way of ensuring business goes on, and goods get where they are supposed to.
American Airlines to fly cargo to Europe
According to the company, the flights will carry mail for active US military, medical supplies, electronics, and telecommunication equipment as well as shipments from e-commerce companies. This is the first time the carrier is operating cargo-only flights for over three decades since it retired the 747 freighters in 1984. The first cargo is expected to leave Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on March 20th and will arrive at Frankfurt Airport on March 21st.
Usually, all airlines carry cargo by default on international and domestic flights. But coronavirus outbreak forced airlines to shrink their operations following declining customer demand and travel restrictions. As a result, cargo capacity reduced despite their being significant demand to move cargo between countries. Currently, most US airlines have put off most of the international long-haul flights.
Air cargo important in times of crisis
Air cargo is very vital in times of crisis like now in delivering medical supplies and other materials to ensure the world infrastructure remains intact. The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in more dependence on e-commerce for supplies during social distancing and quarantines.
Rick Elieson, American Airlines’ Cargo president and VP International Operations, stated that the company has an important role in ensuring essential goods are moving during this period of crisis. He added that the carrier was proud to do its part in finding means of serving customers and communities. Elieson stated that difficult moments require creative solutions, and a team across the airline has been working tirelessly to organize cargo-only flights for the company’s customers.
The Boeing 777-300 has 14 cargo positions accommodating large pallets and can carry over 100,000 pounds. The company will operate two round trips in four days and will be carrying necessary flight personnel and cargo.