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American Airlines Cargo transports China's Summer Palace treasures to the US for the first time ever

Nov. 13, 2017

Coordination with Bowers Museum Makes American the Exclusive Carrier of the Empress Dowager Cixi

American Airlines Cargo was honored to successfully transport more than six tons of China’s national treasures from Beijing to Los Angeles in order to bring selections from the Summer Palace Museum to the United States for the first time.

In conjunction with the Bowers Museum, one of Orange County’s finest and largest museums, American worked closely with museum curators to bring important selections from the life of Empress Dowager Cixi. The pieces will be a first-of-its-kind exhibit in the United States that opens Nov. 12.

The treasures from the Summer Palace were carefully curated and packaged by Bowers Museum representatives, and American managed the logistical challenge of transporting more than 13,000 pounds of delicate material from Beijing (PEK) to Los Angeles (LAX).

Because the artifacts were shipped before American launched its PEK-LAX widebody route, which began operation on Nov. 5, the 35 crates were trucked to Shanghai (PVG) and loaded onto a 787-800 from PVG to LAX.

Upon landing in LAX, American carefully downloaded the treasured artifacts to the Cargo facility before being picked up by the Bowers Museum.

“It’s a wonderful honor to be of service in bringing this incredible exhibit to the Western world for the first time,” said Rick Elieson, president of American Airlines Cargo. “I’m incredibly proud of how carefully our team worked to ensure the integrity of these treasured artifacts.”

At the Bowers Museum, the exhibit reconstructs the matriarch’s everyday life in the Summer Palace, presenting her multi-faceted roles of politician, matriarch and connoisseur of various arts through four different sections and over 100 objects that have never before been seen in the United States.

“As one of the most powerful women in the world for nearly half a century, Empress Dowager Cixi has an incredibly interesting story,” said Dr. Peter Keller, president of the Bowers Museum. “For the first time, audiences will see this mysterious woman come alive through her furnishings, including a reinstallation of one of her throne rooms complete with imperial accessories, lavish clothing, and her most treasured possessions; many of which were gifts from foreign diplomats and court officials. We are thrilled to partner with American to bring this exhibit to life for the first time.”


About American Airlines Cargo

American Airlines Group is the holding company for American Airlines. American provides one of the largest cargo networks in the world with cargo terminals and interline connections across the globe. Every day, American transports cargo between major cities in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia Pacific.

American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at


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