Today, Delta Air Lines is one of the world’s largest airlines, annually transporting 160 million customers to more than 330 worldwide destinations, all while carrying more than 2.4 billion cargo ton-miles. However, when the airline was founded in 1924 in Macon, Georgia, its fleet of 18 planes was solely a crop-dusting operation. The airline quickly grew and, after receiving Air Mail Route 24 from the United States Post Office in 1934, it expanded its services to mail transportation.
By 1946, Delta Air Lines was a full-service passenger airline just beginning to offer regularly scheduled cargo services. Over the next two decades, Delta continued to extend its capacity by expanding passenger service to the Caribbean and South America. Its cargo operation flourished as well. In 1975, Delta became the first airline to offer its own air express service (called Delta Air Express) — a high priority, guaranteed cargo service known as Delta Dash today.
Delta continued to expand as a global carrier, beginning service to Europe in 1978 and Asia in 1988. In 2000, the company launched SkyTeam Cargo with three other carriers — AeroMexico, Air France and Korean Air — that were partners in their global passenger airline alliance. The partnership made SkyTeam Cargo the world’s foremost air cargo alliance.
In 2008, Delta acquired Northwest Airlines creating a global airline with major operations in every region of the world. This global footprint has helped Delta to continue its success. In 2011, the company generated more than $35 billion in revenue, with Delta Cargo revenue topping $1 billion.