Delta temporarily shuts down cargo facility at O’Hare airport

Mail bags being loaded with a conveyor onto a passenger airplane.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) said its cargo station at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is closed indefinitely and not processing shipments. 

In a message to customers Monday evening, Delta Cargo said the embargo extends to all products originating, transferring or arriving at O’Hare and that inbound and outbound trucks will not be serviced.

Only westbound cargo-only charter flights from London Heathrow International Airport and two-way traffic with Frankfurt International Airport in Germany are exempt from the embargo, the notice said. 

Freight already in the facility will be stored and processed after operations have restarted. Delta said it will notify customers when freight is available for pick up. All storage fees will be waived from June 29 through the restart date.

Delta declined to comment on the reasons for the shut down. O’Hare has been beset by extensive cargo delays in recent weeks because ground handlers and warehouses have been swamped by personal protective equipment and other cargo arriving on a daily procession of all-cargo flights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to our customers. We are working to resume operations as soon as possible,” a spokesperson said in a statement provided to FreightWaves.

Many problems could force an airline to close a cargo warehouse, including labor shortages. Most of Delta’s passenger flights at O’Hare typically are narrowbody, domestic aircraft since Chicago is not one of Delta’s main hubs. The backlogs other ground handlers are having in Chicago because they are not used to handling so many international widebody freighters could also be affecting the Delta facility. Delta Cargo has its own team of employees there, the spokesperson said.

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