Cargo is one of the few sources of revenue for airlines these days and after idling most of their fleets because of coronavirus travel restrictions and safety fears, shippers are itching to find available air transport to move their goods. Delta Air Lines increased its frequent Shanghai-to-Los Angeles and Shanghai-to-Atlanta scheduled flights to weekly service, via Seoul, South Korea, into daily operations using large twin-aisle jetliners.
United Airlines plans to operate more than 1,100 dedicated cargo flights in May, up from 770 in April. The airline now offers service between its six U.S. hubs and 18 airports worldwide — five more than a month ago — from major cities in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, to San Juan, Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, American Airlines has expanded its cargo schedule in May to provide 140 weekly flights to 15 cities in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Caribbean. That compares with 80 flights last week. New destinations include daily flights between Dallas-Fort Worth and Hong Kong, and weekly flights between DFW and Beijing. Chicago gets weekly flights to London Heathrow and Paris; and Philadelphia adds weekly flights to Rome, San Juan, and Zurich.
North of the border, Air Canada is increasing the number of scheduled flights with passenger jets as freighters to more cities, including Auckland, New Zealand; Brussels; Seoul; Sydney; and Zurich. “As countries around the globe begin to recover from the pandemic, and the demand for air cargo rises in response, we will work quickly to respond to your requests to add new cities to our network and/or increase frequencies on existing routes. Of course, we will continue to maximize the use of the cargo capacity on United’s passenger flights as well,” United’s Cargo Chief said.
Air Canada was an early adopter of removing seats from planes to clear space for boxes of personal protective equipment and other lightweight goods. It has converted three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and recently removed the seats from an Airbus A330-300, which is now operating scheduled flights to and from Tel Aviv, Israel.
As countries around the globe begin to recover from the pandemic, and the demand for air cargo rises in response, the North American airlines have worked quickly to add new cities to their network and/or increase frequencies on existing routes.