South Korean budget airline Jin Air has become the first in the country to operate cargo-only flights to the US as part of efforts to boost its business amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using a converted passenger Boeing 777-200ER, the sister airline of Korean Air carried 23 tons of cargo – comprised of displays and electronic components – on a flight from Seoul-Incheon to Los Angeles on November 2.

The service is part of a plan by the airline to carry “high-value” cargo to the US and Europe using its widebody Boeing 777 jets. It has also used the jets for cargo services from Seoul to both Bangkok and Qingdao, China.

Jin Air has a fleet of 27 jets mostly comprised of 23 Boeing 737-800s. The airline also has 4 Boeing 777-200ERs. The regular passenger configuration includes a capacity of 315 passengers.

The airline previously received permission from the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to convert the 777 for cargo flights. Completed in October, the modifications increased the jet's cargo capacity from 10 tons to 25 tons. The modifications made include the removal of passenger seats and the installation of safety equipment.

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