Delta Air Lines recently received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to store essential goods in overhead bin space of widebody aircraft, becoming the first U.S. carrier to secure clearance.
According to Delta Cargo, the approved flights will be operated with aircraft that would otherwise be parked due to reduced demand during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and are crucial to keeping all-important supply chains open amid the crisis.
“We thank the FAA for their cooperation in allowing us to increase our cargo capacity,” said Delta Cargo Vice President Shawn Cole in a statement accompanying Thursday’s news. “This really has been a joint effort across our business and will enable us to utilize the overhead bin space to move even more vital medical and protective equipment on each flight for the COVID-19 pandemic efforts.”
The airline recently began operating cargo-only services to quickly transport essential goods, medical supplies and other items and plans to continue to “explore solutions for cargo-only transport,” including increasing storage space by using and possibly removing seats.
Earlier this week, Delta announced that it suffered its first quarterly loss in five years and anticipates the second quarter to produce even worse financial results due to decreased demand and travel restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, Delta CEO Ed Bastian reportedly told employees that he believes it’ll be two to three years before the carrier’s business recovers from the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
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