At a time when our skies are almost empty of planes, aviation enthusiasts get excited when they see something unusual and positively ecstatic when a first-time sighting is made. Such an event, involving a Mongolian aircraft has got ‘Simple Flying’ into raptures:
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, as the first ever non-stop service between any city in the United States and Mongolia.
The outbound flight to the US lasted just under 11 hours, and just over 11 hours on the way back to Ulaanbaatar. Although the flight repatriated Mongolian citizens stranded in the USA, strictly speaking, it was not a passenger service, but a cargo one: the 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 one of the highest in the world.
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 Khaan. This is of course Genghis Khan, the famous 12th-century ruler of a vast Mongol Empire, which at its height extended from Vietnam to Central Europe.
Interestingly, on the way back, the aircraft flew to Ulaanbaatar with over 200 Mongolian citizens on board who had until previously been stuck in the United States due to travel restrictions. It also carried back multiple crates of dinosaur fossils which had been stolen from Mongolia and smuggled to the US.
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.
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. (source: simple flying)