American Airlines has transported more than 115,000 lb of seeds from Argentina to the US for the spring planting season.
Although passenger flights aren’t currently operating between the two countries due to the coronavirus pandemic, the seeds are travelling on one of American Airlines’ cargo-only routes from Buenos Aires to Miami.
The recent flight on 16 April broke American Airlines’ all-time record for freight volume, moving 115,349 lb (52,321 kg) of soya bean seeds on a Boeing 777-300. The previous record for American’s 777-300 was 103,384 lb, set in 2014 on a flight from Los Angeles to London Heathrow.
The season for shipping soya bean and corn seeds runs from March to May each year, with seeds bound for the US Midwest. American Airlines has been part of this seasonal shipping cycle for more than a decade and has shipped more than 290t of seeds in the past few weeks alone.
The record shipment arrived just as the US Government announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, a US$19B initiative aimed at supporting farmers and ranchers.
American Airlines’ role continues after the northern hemisphere’s harvest each year, with seeds from the grown plants shipped back to Argentina to wait for the next growing season in the warmth of the southern hemisphere. This proprietary process improves planting yield by up to 40%.
“We are proud to be a part of this important cycle that supports local farming and provides vital food and fuel for the global economy. Transporting record-breaking volume in the process is just icing on the cake,” said Lorena Sandoval, director of cargo sales for Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America.
“With reduced flight schedules due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to maximise every inch of available cargo space. We’re here to support the world’s food supply, no matter what we face.”