American Airlines celebrates the 75th anniversary of its first cargo flight on October 15. The anniversary marks a significant milestone in the airline’s rich history of connecting the world beyond passenger service since 1944.


The airline has a long history of innovation within the cargo operation, marked by industry firsts such as the first scheduled air cargo service in the world, the first pet carrier container, and the first unit load container (ULD). Supported by loyal team members, some hold as many as 50 years of experience working for the cargo operation. Other milestones include an award-winning reputation as an air cargo carrier, a record-breaking 2018 year earning over $1 billion in revenue, and more recently exceeding flown-as-booked (FAB) performance goals for 12 consecutive months.


American continues to focus efforts on how to modernize, innovate and connect the world in better ways, and the airline is currently making its largest single investment in its cargo operation to date with a new IT infrastructure. The first phase of the system went live on October 1 and provides an enhanced online booking platform, increased visibility around the world, and a robust back-end system that will further improve customer and employee experience.


“From the DC-3s American Airlines flew in our early days to the modern, fuel efficient B777-300ERs and B787-9s in our fleet today, we are extremely proud of the history of this airline’s cargo division,” says American Airlines Cargo President, Rick Elieson. “We’ve achieved a lot over the past 75 years. I’m proud to be part of an organization that embraces innovation and I’m excited to see what we do next.”


To commemorate 75 years of accomplishment, American has used the hashtag #75for75 over the course of the 75 business days leading up to the anniversary to share historical photos from the decades on their LinkedIn channel. The Day 1 photo featured American’s Flagship DC-3 Airfreighter being loaded with cargo for its first flight.

View the full timeline and other assets celebrating American Airlines Cargo significant milestones over the years online at