flavio340
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History and Size of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Sun May 06, 2007 6:41 am

Can anyone give information about AA former cargo service: Number of aircraft, types, and routes? Also why did they stop the operation? Any speculation about a return of cargo aircraft with the A300.
 
dtw9
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History and Size of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Sun May 06, 2007 7:56 am

American began Freighter service with DC-3's in 1944. In 1946 C-54's were added and the first of 10 DC-6A's came on line in 1953. Converted DC-7BF freighters were added in 1959 and 1960. Four 707-323C's were added in 1964 and the first converted 747-123 was added in 1974. By 1980 American operated 9 707-323C and 3 747-123 Freighters. By August 1981 AA retired all 707 Freighters due to high fuel costs. In the fall of 1984, American retired its 747 cargo freighter fleet and focused on smaller shipments carried in the bellies of its passenger aircraft.
 
commavia
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History and Size of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Sun May 06, 2007 8:08 am

Quoting Flavio340 (Thread starter):
Number of aircraft, types, and routes?

As Dtw9 said, AA operated a myriad of different freighter aircraft from the early 1940s up until the mid 1980s -- among them DC-3s, DC-6s, DC-7s, 707s and 747s. Interestingly, AA also owned a small fleet of DC-8 freighters that it operated internally in the early 1970s but leased out in the mid to late 1970s.

Quoting Flavio340 (Thread starter):
Also why did they stop the operation?

AA made the determination that given rising fuel prices (kind of comical from today's perspective) in the early 1980s, their just was not an economic justification to flying around a bunch of gas-guzzling, inefficient 747 and 707 freighters. If AA had had a huge presence in Asia or non-Caribbean Latin America at that time (two historically cargo-intensive markets), they might have determined differently. But nonetheless AA determined that they could still profitably "haul the mail" (and cargo, and heavy freight, and express packages, etc.) in the bellies of passenger planes. This, in hindsight, appears to have been a smart decision: AA today is America's largest cargo carrier without any dedicated cargo aircraft -- the only larger cargo/freight haulers are FedEx, UPS and Northwest. That's telling -- cargo is a huge business for AA.

Quoting Flavio340 (Thread starter):
Any speculation about a return of cargo aircraft with the A300.

Definitely not. The A300s will only be wearing bare metal until AA can get a suitable replacement (almost certainly 787-3s) into service. The A300s will then be returned to their lesser, Airbus itself.
 
Avianca
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History and Size of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Sun May 06, 2007 9:11 am

well AA is actually still moving a lot of cargo on the widebodys, I also do not see why they should come back with all cargo operation....

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Viscount724
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RE: History And Size Of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Sun May 06, 2007 9:44 am

Quoting Commavia (Reply 2):
As Dtw9 said, AA operated a myriad of different freighter aircraft from the early 1940s up until the mid 1980s -- among them DC-3s, DC-6s, DC-7s, 707s and 747s. Interestingly, AA also owned a small fleet of DC-8 freighters that it operated internally in the early 1970s but leased out in the mid to late 1970s.

The 2 or 3 DC-8s were inherited from AA's 1971 purchase of Trans Caribbean Airlines. They were sold less than a year later.

Incidentally AA also inherited one 727-100QC (and one 727-200) from the Trans Caribbean merger. The QC was AA's only 727 with a main deck cargo door, although I believe it only operated in all-passenger configuration during its years with AA. It later went to UPS.


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commavia
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RE: History And Size Of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Sun May 06, 2007 10:46 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 4):
The 2 or 3 DC-8s were inherited from AA's 1971 purchase of Trans Caribbean Airlines. They were sold less than a year later.

At least two were still on the books in 1975, albeit leased to other airlines.
 
VC10DC10
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RE: History And Size Of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Sun May 06, 2007 10:49 am

Quoting Commavia (Reply 2):
The A300s will only be wearing bare metal until AA can get a suitable replacement (almost certainly 787-3s) into service.

Know something the rest of us don't?  Smile

Quoting Commavia (Reply 2):
The A300s will then be returned to their lesser, Airbus itself.

Lessor, you mean. We don't need anything like A vs B rivalry around here  Wink
 
commavia
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RE: History And Size Of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Sun May 06, 2007 10:52 am

Quoting VC10DC10 (Reply 6):
Know something the rest of us don't?

It comes from "American Airlines: An Illustrated History" by George W. Cearley, Jr., published 1981. Page 99 has a historical survey of American's fleet at different periods in its history.

The entry for the year 1971 indicates:

- 2 DC-8-54F's
- 1 DC-8-55F
- 2 DC-8-61CF's


The entry for the year 1975 indicates:

- 2 DC-8-61CF's*

*Leased to other carriers


Quoting VC10DC10 (Reply 6):
Lessor, you mean. We don't need anything like A vs B rivalry around here

Too true, my apologies. No offense to those in the Airbus camp among us!  Smile
 
VC10DC10
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RE: History And Size Of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Sun May 06, 2007 1:23 pm

Quoting Commavia (Reply 7):

Thanks, Commavia. I was just making an only mildly interesting joke about your statement that AA will "almost certainly" replace the A300s with the 783.  Smile

Who did AA lease the DC8s to? I'm assuming they were dry leases (hence not requiring AA to maintain a team of DC8 pilots).
 
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jetjack74
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RE: History And Size Of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Mon May 07, 2007 12:12 am

Quoting VC10DC10 (Reply 8):
Who did AA lease the DC8s to? I'm assuming they were dry leases (hence not requiring AA to maintain a team of DC8 pilots).

After the Trans Carribean merger, the aircraft were still under lease terms that required the lease to continue through merger aquisitions, thus keeping them under AA's control until the lease was up, so in-turn AA subleased the DC8's to Seaboard World, Saturn, and Capitol on a contract to fly cargo/passenger for CRAF flights to Da' Nang, Saigon, Yokota, Kadena, Clarke, Rhein Main AB, Ramstein AB. IIRC, initially, the Trans Carrib pilots and cabin crews were leased out in the beginning to accomodate for the gap in personnel for the contract flying until the lessee's could staff them with their own until AA's obligation for the leases were up.

[Edited 2007-05-06 17:21:35]
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flavio340
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RE: History And Size Of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Mon May 07, 2007 12:55 am

Thank you all for the responses, but as usual this raises more questions. Since AA is one of the US largest cargo haulers, and they use to have an internal cargo service, why not bring back that service between the hubs? I remember flying the 777 MIA-DFW and we had more cargo than fuel on board. Also with the expansion of Oneworld and many of the members operating their own cargo services would AA also not be better to profit from offering such services as well. If they can be successful with passengers why not with cargo? Last question with the success of AMR maintenance and third party outsourcing, could American not buy a smaller cargo operation and make some money by flying third party cargo?
 
aacun
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RE: History And Size Of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Mon May 07, 2007 2:38 am

AA Freight also operated at least one Lockheed Hercules a/c. The 747 used to do JFK-SJU and the hercules picked up freight in SJU and carried it to SDQ and PAP as far as I remember.
 
commavia
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RE: History And Size Of AA's Former Dedicated Cargo Service?

Mon May 07, 2007 3:43 am

Quoting Flavio340 (Reply 10):
Since AA is one of the US largest cargo haulers, and they use to have an internal cargo service, why not bring back that service between the hubs?

The economics just aren't there. AA feels -- and obviously has proven -- that it can still derive enormous revenues from cargo operations without actually setting up a dedicated fleet of freighters that would require seperate training, handling, maintenance, etc. Why pay all that expense when you can get just about all the same revenue without spending it?

Quoting Flavio340 (Reply 10):
Also with the expansion of Oneworld and many of the members operating their own cargo services would AA also not be better to profit from offering such services as well.

Different markets demand different operations. For Cathay and JAL, for example, who both have bases in Asia -- probably the most intensive dedicated freighter aircraft market in the world, it makes complete sense to use converted 747s to haul thousands of tons of cargo and freight around the world. For an airline like AA, where most of its cargo revenue is derived from smaller, more specialized cargo markets like flowers from South America, etc., it makes no sense to, again, dedicate an entire fleet of non-standard aircraft to a niche market. United, by the way, came to the same conclusion: up until around 1999-2000, it had a small fleet of dedicated DC10s that used to fly from JFK, LAX and ORD via ANC to NRT, KIX and MNL. Even with United's enormous corporate presence in Asia, they still determined that it just wasn't worth it to operate these dedicated freight haulers -- Northwest is now the only major U.S. passenger carrier with a seperate cargo fleet.

Quoting Flavio340 (Reply 10):
If they can be successful with passengers why not with cargo?

They are two completely different markets -- different animals, really. While passenger air transport has its (obvious) challenges: demanding customers, the need for onboard service, schedules, etc., air cargo also has some issues to overcome: the emphasis on speed and reliability, complex handling requirements, the airline's assumption of much of the liability of customs/shipping documents across borders, etc. In the end, again, many have decided that it's just not worth it anymore.

Quoting Flavio340 (Reply 10):
Last question with the success of AMR maintenance and third party outsourcing, could American not buy a smaller cargo operation and make some money by flying third party cargo?

I'm not sure who they would buy, but AMR already has a very well established cargo presence. AA is already America's fourth largest cargo carrier, without a single cargo aircraft, and 1, 2 and 3 all have dedicated freighters. That is very telling. AA's cargo presence is strongest in large markets, like their hubs plus LAX, SFO, HNL, JFK, BOS, DCA, etc., and AA also does a huge volume of business in Latin America, where they are the most reliable hauler, with the most capacity, in many of the markets they serve. In addition, AA actually does huge cargo business in Europe -- AA has repeatedly filled 777s completely to capacity with cargo on routes out of LHR, LGW, FRA, etc.

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