Hauling 6,000 pounds of bulk cargo from New York City to Burbank, CA, American Airlines' first scheduled air freight service launched in October 1944. The duration on the coast-to-coast delievery—19 hours.
From the earliest days, American Airlines was led by bold and visionary aviation pioneers who flew an array of aircraft, said American. Beginning with the DC-3 Flagship freighter the aircraft accommodated an assortment of bulk cargo including fashion goods, textiles and machine parts. Sixty-five years later, the world’s supply chain is dependent on air cargo for transport of some of the most precious cargo in the world, notes the airline. These range from pallets of life-saving vaccines to priceless art and critical machine parts.
“From the beginning, American’s founders saw the promise of a dedicated air cargo business, and invested in innovative solutions that have benefited our industry,” said Dave Brooks, president, American Airlines Cargo. “We thank the long list of employees, customers and associates who have been a part of our story through the years. We look ahead with an unwavering commitment to our industry and our valued customers.”
AA Cargo has claims numerous innovations for the air cargo industry, including:
• The first air freight loading conveyors.
• The first portable motorized loading conveyors.
• The first Unit Load Device (ULD).
• The first scissor-lift system.
• The first pet carrier container for air travel.
• The first refrigerated “coldbox” container.
Today’s innovations include leveraging Web-based technologies to monitor shipments and support the reliability of new products such as ExpediteTC AA Cargo’s new temperature-controlled cool-chain solution for pharmaceuticals and high-value perishables.
American Airlines Cargo provides more than 100 million pounds of weekly cargo lift capacity to major cities in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia, according to the airline.