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Air cargo: A chronology

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History of the Air cargo industry

            Transporting cargo by means of airplanes began in the Air Mail service in the United States (Mark Meeker, 2006). This movement led to the development of many of the large airline companies at present (Meeker, 2006). In the United States, the service began with the United States Postal Service transporting their cargoes of mail with small, private-run airplane companies (Meeker, 2006). But these planes were hazardous to fly, equipped with none of the navigational and flight aids seen in modern aircraft (Meeker, 2006).

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In light of these factors, and the seeming unreliability of these companies among other issues, the United Postal Service soon halted their contracts with them, opting to use the pilots and aircraft of the United States Army Air Corps (Meeker, 2006).

            By the 1930’s, the focus of the industry was speed of delivery (Meeker, 2006). Due to the needs of the time, the aircraft industry produced the Boeing 247 (Meeker, 2006).  TWA negotiated with aircraft maker Douglas, and after some design changes, introduced the DC-3 (Meeker, 2006).

By the 1940’s, majority of the cargo being transported utilized the DC-3 (Meeker, 2006).

            In 1948, the Cargo Airline Association was formed to defend their members from government interference, especially from the Civil Aeronautics Board (Cargo Airline Association, 2004). In 1977, the heavily regulated industry was finally stripped of these rules, thus allowing them to run their own aircraft (Cargo, 2004). Form this time until the early parts of the 1980’s, forwarders became direct competitors in the industry, giving birth to the overnight express delivery system (Cargo, 2004). Established by cargo giant Federal Express, the system began to take root by the middle of the 1980’s (Cargo, 2004). The Air Freight Forwarders Association, the antecedent of the current Cargo Airlines Association, changed its name and accepted Federal Express and United Parcel Service into the fold (Cargo, 2004).


Cargo Airline Association. (2004).History. Retrieved January 20, 2009, from


Meeker, M. (2006). The air cargo industry. Retrieved January 20, 2009, from



Cite this Air cargo: A chronology

Air cargo: A chronology. (2016, Oct 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/air-cargo-a-chronology/

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