American Airlines has expanded its cargo schedule in May to provide 140 weekly flights to 15 cities in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Caribbean, up from 80 flights last week.
New destinations include daily flights between Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Hong Kong (HKG); and weekly flights from DFW and Beijing (PEK); DFW Chicago (ORD) and Paris (CDG); ORD and London Heathrow (LHR); Philadelphia (PHL) and Rome (FCO); PHL and San Juan (SJU), and PHL and Zurich (ZRH). For more than 75 years, cargo flights have played a significant role in the history of American Airlines. And now in the face of a global pandemic, cargo flights are once again placing cargo in the history books for American.
The airline’s early roots can be traced back to flying cargo, when a Douglas DC-3 loaded with more than 6,000 pounds of fresh spinach, fresh flowers, airplane parts and apparel flew the first scheduled air cargo flight from Burbank, California (BUR) to New York (LGA) on Oct. 15, 1944.
American was also the first airline with dedicated cargo terminals. After growing into a passenger airline, American returned to freighter operations in October 1974 with six Boeing 747s.
With 176,000 pounds of cargo capacity, the freighter flew a wide range of cargo from a printing press to fresh produce in its first year. American flew the freighters for 10 years before the capacity of newer widebody aircraft (at the time the DC-10 and the Boeing 767) allowed American to load freight containers on passenger aircraft, moving the carrier away from a dedicated freighter fleet.
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