United Cargo on Thursday published its March schedule that shows some reduced frequencies and travel lane suspensions due to the temporary removal of 24 Boeing 777-200 aircraft from the fleet as a safety precaution.
United Flight 328 from Denver to Honolulu was forced to make an emergency landing last Saturday after suffering a catastrophic failure in one of its two engines. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ordered United — the only U.S. operator of the 777-200 with Pratt & Whitney 4000-series engines — to inspect the fan blades on all engines.
United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) earlier this week warned shippers that it would return some aircraft from cargo-only operations to replace the lost passenger capacity and make other adjustments that could impact the March cargo schedule.
The new schedule preserves most international cargo routes, but United Cargo acknowledged in a message to customers that some cargo capacity is temporarily lost. It said the reduction in overall cargo capacity is minimal because the addition of more passenger flights as travel demand has increased has added more room to the system for cargo to travel in the lower deck.
United Cargo said suspended travel lanes can be served by alternate routings on passenger flights.
“We remain committed to serving our freight customers even with the revisions to our March cargo schedule,” the airline said, adding it will contact customers that have been affected by any rescheduling to find alternate routings for their shipments.
The development is likely seen as more of an inconvenience than a major disruption by shippers, but it represents some marginal loss of widebody capacity at a time when available flights throughout the industry are already very thin.