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AA Cargo expands Cargo Operations

[ May 15, 2020   //   ]

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.
“Why we fly hasn’t changed, but out of necessity how we care for people on life’s journey has had to change. Cargo-only fights have allowed us to transport medical equipment, communications and technology tools, pharmaceuticals and food supplies,” said Rick Elieson, President of Cargo and Vice President of International Operations. “Air cargo is uniquely positioned to connect the world at a time when barriers and distance threaten to separate us. I’m immensely proud of our teams and business partners who have come together to make these flights possible,” said Elieson.
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. The freighters were sold, with one purchased by NASA and converted to piggyback the space shuttle.

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