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Delta Cargo shuts Chicago airport facility for 9 days

Half-dozen domestic, international routes are impacted

Delta Air Lines has placed an embargo on all cargo moving through Chicago until Dec. 2. (Photo: Delta Air Lines)

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) has shut its cargo facility at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport through Dec. 2 for what a spokesperson said was due to “an unforeseen staffing issue.”

In a message to customers on Monday, Delta Cargo said it is not accepting, delivering or transferring any shipments. Dispatch of inbound and outbound trucks is also unavailable, effective immediately, it added.

Atlanta-based Delta operates one international cargo-only service from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany, that is affected by the embargo. The airline will reroute shipments to its scheduled New York or Atlanta flights to Frankfurt, spokesperson Debbie Sheehan said in an email.

This is the second time in five months Delta Cargo has temporarily closed its O’Hare warehouse. In late June, the facility closed for two days. No reason was given, but the airport was experiencing overall shortages of ground crews to handle cargo after many were furloughed when the coronavirus wiped out most passenger business.

Chicago is not one of Delta’s U.S. hubs, so the impact on the overall network from the cargo building’s closure will be muted. But shippers that use Delta to reach Chicago will likely feel the impact.

Delta Cargo, according to its schedule, offers one widebody daily domestic flight — Chicago to Atlanta roundtrip with an Airbus A330. The rest of its daily domestic passenger schedule via Chicago runs with standard aircraft:

  • Chicago – Atlanta: Airbus A320/A330 two times daily
  • Chicago – New York (LaGuardia):  A220 regional jet
  • Chicago- Seattle: Boeing 737
  • Chicago- Salt Lake City:  (A220)

The impact might be less than a normal week because domestic air cargo typically slows a bit for the Thanksgiving holiday. Shipments that fly in passenger aircraft bellies will have to be shuttled between other U.S. airports until the embargo lifts.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch. 

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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]