American Airlines Cargo doubles cold chain flights to meet vaccine and pharma demand

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American Airlines Cargo has expanded its temperature-controlled shipping capabilities to the company’s entire mainline fleet, nearly doubling its customers’ cold chain flight options and allowing it to meet growing market demand for distributing temperature-critical cargo like vaccines and pharmaceuticals.

Fort Worth, Texas-based American launched the new service after trials where it used packaging from CSafe Global and temperature loggers from CargoSense, monitoring internal package temperatures while planes operated in a variety of climates. Those tests showed that its planes supported appropriate environments for passive, temperature-sensitive shipments, the airline said.

The expanded service is part of American’s ExpediteTC solution, which offers both active and passive shipping solutions as well as a global network of temperature-controlled facilities, including a 25,000-square-foot temperature-controlled center in Philadelphia that specializes in pharmaceuticals.

Following the rollout, American has nearly doubled its capacity for handling ExpediteTC solutions and extended the airline’s cold-chain solution network to 30 new stations, including in-demand cities like Cincinnati, Memphis, and Pittsburgh, the company said.

“When it comes to cold chain shipments, reliability is crucial for our customers,” said Roger Samways, vice president of commercial for American Airlines Cargo, said in a release. “By expanding our offering of temperature-critical shipping on all mainline flights, we are able to provide our customers with access to more than 180 markets, marking the largest cold-chain network in our history.”

The expansion follows a flurry of recent investment in the cold chain sector, such as refrigerated warehouse giant Lineage Logistics buying its own cold chain railcar fleet in January and smaller players like RLS Logistics and Burris Logistics expanding their regional networks.