Delta launches cargo-only flights to Atlanta

James Jones. Source: Delta

James Jones. Source: Delta

Delta Air Lines is launching cargo-only flights to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to help move medical supplies and other goods amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Atlanta-based Delta said it is starting Atlanta-Seoul cargo service that will operate four times a week on Boeing 777-200ER jets as of Monday.

The 777-200ER can carry 42 tons of cargo in the cargo hold. The goods will be transferred in Atlanta to the cargo holds of domestic passenger flights.

As part of the operation to move goods from Asia, Delta also is now operating cargo flights between Shanghai and Seoul’s Incheon Airport twice daily.

Delta suspended passenger flights to Seoul in March, and U.S. airlines have also suspended most of their passenger flights to Asia because of COVID-19.

As a result, Chinese suppliers of medical protective equipment were looking for more ways to get their goods to the United States, and operating cargo-only flights helps to keep supplies moving, according to Delta.

“With medical equipment in such high demand, we are doing all we can to help the supply chain and get surgical masks, gloves, gowns and other protective equipment to medical professionals across the country as quickly as we can,” Delta Cargo vice president Shawn Cole said in a written statement.

The Atlanta route is the latest all-cargo service Delta has added, after launching Detroit-Inchon-Shanghai flights and Los Angeles-Incheon-Shanghai flights.

The coronavirus-period cargo-only flights are Delta's first since its merger partner Northwest's freighter flights last operated in 2009.