Budget airline Jin Air said Monday that it has begun flying cargo to the United States as part of efforts to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though major South Korean airlines have resorted to cargo services to offset the impact of the virus in recent months, the sister airline of Korean Air is the first low-cost carrier in the country to deliver cargo to the US.
On Sunday, Jin Air flew its B777-200ER passenger jet from Incheon to Los Angeles, carrying 23 tons of displays and other electronic components in its belly cargo space, the airline said.
The company said it “plans to deliver more high value-added cargo to the US and Europe using its B777-200ER planes,” which is a long-range aircraft capable of flying over 10,000 kilometers.
Last month, the airline began operating a B777-200ER jet for the Incheon to Bangkok route twice a week after converting the passenger jet into a cargo plane and receiving the green light from transport authorities.
Jin Air is among the latest airlines to focus on cargo delivery as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to seek new business models.
Earlier this year, its parent airline Korean Air shifted its business to cargo operations and later converted passenger jets into cargo planes to increase cargo capacity. The national flag carrier posted an operating profit of 148.5 billion won ($125.2 million) during the second quarter, making it one of the few in the world to have an operating surplus.
By Yim Hyun-su (firstname.lastname@example.org)