United Airlines has inaugurated cargo-in-cabin flights from London Heathrow to Chicago.
The move follows a recent approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to carry cargo in approved storage areas in the passenger cabin.
The first departure recently departed carrying nearly two tonnes of mail in the passenger cabin, plus a full payload of freight in the belly of the aircraft.
Initially, cargo-in-cabin shipments will be loaded on the Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft operating cargo-only flights.
“At United, we are doing everything we can to keep supply chains moving and meet the demand for critical shipments around the globe.
“By loading our existing cabin storage areas with cargo and mail, we can move even more critical medical equipment and other vital shipments the world needs to manage through the pandemic,” said Liz Woolmington, United cargo senior regional manager – Europe, Middle East, India and Africa.
United’s cargo-only network currently offers services between six of its United States hubs and 18 airports worldwide.
Since the start of its cargo-only flights programme on in March, United has operated over 1,300 cargo-only flights.