United flies its 5,000th cargo-only PAX flight

By Rachelle Harry

United Airlines Cargo has flown its 5,000th cargo-only passenger aircraft flight since it began operating them in March.

During that time, the carrier has transported almost 170m tonnes of airfreight on these cargo-only flights alone, which are operated with some of its Boeing 777s and 787 aircraft.

Cargo shipped on the special flights included essential medical supplies, pharma and personal protective equipment, and routes served included US hubs and key international destinations.

Since the start of the pandemic, United Cargo has also transported 48,538m tonnes of medical supplies to aid in the fight against coronavirus using a combination of cargo-only flights and the bellyhold of passenger flights.

In addition, the carrier increased the frequency of cargo-only flights between the US and military bases in various parts of the world — including bases located in Guam, Kwajalein and several countries in Europe.

“We know how critically important it is for these families to stay connected, and I’m honored that we were able to utilise our network and our aircraft to fly nearly 3m lb [1,360 tonnes] of military supplies,” said Jan Krems, president of United Cargo.

United Cargo also moved 81m tonnes of fresh produce to Guam for the US Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. The programme, which is in association with food logistics firm Commodity Forwarders Inc., was created to provide support to consumers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“United has played a critical role in keeping global supply chains stable during the pandemic as we deliver urgently needed goods around the world,” said Krems.

“These past few months have created challenges that I have never seen in my 30-plus years of experience working within the air cargo and freight forwarding industry. However, I’m proud of our teams for staying focused on our mission to provide high-quality service and to keep our customers connected with the goods they need most”.

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