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Seven thrilling decades of air cargo

By Hpanchal on June 4, 2012

The June issue of Air Cargo World features a seven-decade timeline. Below, please find decade-by-decade highlights. The entire timeline is printed in this month's digital edition.


Air Transportation magazine is launched in New York.

• American Airlines introduces the first U.S. transcontinental all-cargo air service with DC-3 freighters.


• The Air Express division of Railway Express Agency marks its 25th anniversary of flying airmail and air express on regular schedules.


• The Port of New York Authority, anticipating a mounting volume of air cargo, announces plans to nearly double existing cargo facilities at New York International Airport to 590,000 square feet.

• Pan American World Airlines places an order for two 707-321C cargo jets, marking the first cargo jet order in the U.S.


• In July, Lufthansa takes delivery of the first 747-200 freighter off the production line, giving commercial air cargo operators their first noseloading aircraft capable of carrying
industrial pallets.

• In October, Airbus puts its first plane in the air, the A300.


• In April, Airbus launches its second aircraft, the A310.


• Lufthansa’s Wilhelm Althen admits that the carrier’s move to start a freight network is a reaction to the competition from integrated carriers.

• The International Air Cargo Forum is reorganized outside the SAE as The International Air Cargo Association.

• Federal Express sends software on computer disks to thousands of customers, allowing them to track shipments from their own workstations.

• Michael Chowdry, extending a corporate trend toward outsourcing, creates Atlas Air, an airline dedicated to leasing 747-200 freighters to airlines under long-term contracts.


• The Trade Act of 2002 is enacted on August 6, providing U.S. presidents with the authority to negotiate trade deals with other nations without Congressional amendment.

• In January, Airbus starts production on the A380 in Nantes, France.


• On January 1, the EU ETS goes into effect, placing a cap on airline emissions on flights routed into the European Union. IATA and other industry groups push back against the new rule, asking for an ICAO-provided solution instead.

• UPS buys TNT Express for $6.77 billion. This deal comes a little more than a month after TNT Express rejected UPS’ initial $6.4 billion acquisition offer.

• IATA begins championing full implementation of the e-airwaybill by 2015 as the first step toward e-freight, instead of the previous all-at-once method.

• In March, the TSA and the CBP announce that they’re moving forward with their joint Air Cargo Advance Screening pilot program.

• FedEx announces plans to acquire French transportation company Tatex. The announcement comes a month after FedEx agrees to purchase a Polish shipping company.

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