History was made on Sunday when a MIAT Mongolian Airlines Boeing 767-300 aircraft operated the first ever non-stop flight to the United States from Mongolia. Let’s take a look at this historic flight.
The historic flight
The Independent reports that a MIAT Mongolian Airlines flight landed at Seattle International Airport on Sunday, 21st June. With this, it became the first ever non-stop service between any city in the United States and Mongolia.
The flight lasted just under 11 hours in the direction departing Mongolia for the US, and just over 11 hours on the way back to Ulaanbaatar. It was not a passenger service, but a cargo one; its purpose was to deliver 60,000 items of personal protective equipment (PPE).
This PPE cargo load was a donation made by the Mongolian government to the United States. In particular, it was sent to the Navajo Nation indigenous community, which has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. The community has had 7,000 confirmed infections, for a population size of 175,000. This makes it one of the highest rates in the US, and indeed in the world.
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The aircraft that MIAT Mongolian Airlines sent to the US for this purpose is a seven-year-old Boeing 767-300, of which Mongolian has two in its fleet. The registration of the one that operated this flight is JU-1021. Interestingly, this aircraft carries the name Chinggis Khan. This is an alternative spelling of Genghis Khan, the notorious 12th-century ruler of a vast territory across central Asia.
On the way back, the aircraft flew to Ulan Bator with over 200 Mongolian citizens on board, who had, until recently, been stuck in the United States due to travel restrictions. It also carried back multiple crates of dinosaur fossils that belonged to Mongolia.
Photos of the 767 aircraft, and of the unloading of cargo, were posted by the Seattle Tacoma International Airport’s Twitter account two days ago. Also among the photos is a snapshot of a ceremony held at the airport. Michael O’Hare, an official of FEMA (the US Federal Emergency Management Agency), formally accepted the donation on behalf of the United States from the Mongolian ambassador Yondon Otgonbayar, also pictured, who represented Mongolia.
Over the weekend, we had a very special SEA visitor.😁
It was the first-ever direct flight from Mongolia to the U.S. and it was delivering 60,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to FEMA for distribution to Nevada and Arizona. pic.twitter.com/6xjQQP7Mz7
— Seattle-Tacoma Intl. Airport (@flySEA) June 24, 2020
Mongolian Airlines has ambitions for scheduled USA flights
Simple Flying previously reported that MIAT Mongolian Airlines has applied for permission to launch scheduled passenger services between Mongolia and the United States. Despite having an active fleet of just seven aircraft, the airline has expressed an interest in launching a single route between the US and Ulaanbaatar. This could perhaps really happen once MIAT Mongolian Airlines receives its first Boeing 787-9 in 2021.
Similar to this rare sighting, there have been many other unusual sightings of aircraft across the world. An Ethiopian Airlines Cargo 777 flew to Banja Luka, a relatively tiny town in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to deliver medical cargo earlier this year.
Have you seen some unusual aircraft arrivals recently as a result of COVID-19? Let us know what you think of stories like this in the comments below.