Delta launches cargo-only flights to Europe, India

Delta cargo. Source: Delta Air Lines

Combined ShapeCaption
Delta cargo. Source: Delta Air Lines

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines says it now operates cargo-only flights from Atlanta and New York to Mumbai.

The flights, on Airbus A330 jets, go through Frankfurt.

The new cargo routes come as the airline continues to shift its focus because of slow demand for international passenger travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. The airline now operates an average of more than 20 cargo-only flights a week and has run more than 1,600 cargo charter flights since February.

Delta is also operating three cargo flights a week between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Dublin. The planes are ferrying pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and other goods in the cargo hold, according to the airline.

Delta’s vice president of cargo Shawn Cole said in a written statement that there’s high demand for pharmaceutical shipments from India due to the coronavirus.

The airline is also operating daily scheduled cargo-only flights from Madrid to New York, to transport “fashion goods” for the holidays.

Cole said the cargo-only flights were added amid travel constraints within Europe. Normally, goods are transported on cargo carriers and in the bellies of passenger planes, but international passenger flights have been significantly curtailed due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Delta launched its cargo charter operation in March, using idled passenger planes for cargo runs between the United States and Asia.

The airline had converted a Boeing 777 into a freighter by removing the seats before retiring its 777 fleet at the end of last month.