Delta operating cargo-only flights with A350s, 777s

The Atlanta-based carrier is using passenger aircraft cargo bellies to ferry supplies and mail around the world.

Delta Air Lines has become the second major US passenger airline to utilize grounded passenger aircraft for cargo flights amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Delta operated a cargo-only Airbus A350 flight from Dublin (DUB) to Atlanta (ATL) carrying medical supplies on March 24. The airline expects to operate more cargo flights to/from Dublin, noting the A350 carried more than 32,000 lbs. of pharmaceutical supplies on the March 24 flight.

Also on March 24, Delta operated two Boeing 777-200LRs from Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD), carrying more than 80 tons of cargo. A cargo-only flight from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Amsterdam (AMS) ferrying US mail is expected later this week, the airline added. 

Delta said the 777 can carry 42 tons of cargo while an A350 can fly 49 tons of cargo. 

“We’re here to help keep global commerce moving and supply lines open,” Delta VP of cargo Shawn Cole said.

“Transforming our operation to provide cargo-only charter flights allows us to diversify our business at a time where the global need to move critical supplies is significant.”

Delta Cargo annually flies 421,000 tons of cargo globally in the bellies of passenger aircraft.

American Airlines is also operating cargo-only flights during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Photo credit: Delta Air Lines