In case there was any doubt, Amazon just signaled just how serious it is about building its own transportation and delivery network. The tech giant announced the purchase of eleven Boeing 767-300 jets, from Delta and WestJet, marking the first time Amazon has bought, rather than leased, planes for its cargo fleet.
Purchasing aircraft is the “next natural step” in the company’s efforts to offer fast, free delivery, said Sarah Rhoads, vice president of Amazon Global Air, in a statement Tuesday morning. “Having a mix of both leased and owned aircraft in our growing fleet allows us to better manage our operations, which in turn helps us to keep pace in meeting our customer promises.”
The additional eleven aircraft put the company on track to have more than 85 cargo planes in its network by the end of 2022.
The deals are the latest move by Amazon to build up its logistics and delivery network, making its operations more self-reliant. The e-commerce giant continues to use UPS and the U.S. Postal Service for some deliveries, after severing ties with FedEx.
A September report by DePaul University’s Chaddick Policy Brief found that the number of daily Amazon Air flights grew 27%, from 85 to 108, between April 23 and Aug. 20. The report described that as “extraordinary growth considering that it comes on the heels of much previous expansion, and that global air cargo was down more than 20% in June and July.”
The company’s worldwide shipping costs rose 57% in the third quarter to more than $15 billion, reflecting increased e-commerce sales during the pandemic. Amazon will report its financial results for the fourth quarter, including the peak holiday shopping season, later this month.
Four aircraft purchased from WestJet are in the process of being converted from passenger to cargo planes, and will start flying as part of the Amazon Air fleet in 2021, the company said. Seven planes from Delta will join the Amazon fleet in 2022. Amazon said the purchased aircraft will be operated by third-party carriers, following the same practice as its leased planes.
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News – Amazon Air makes first outright purchase of planes, buying 11 Boeing jets to expand cargo fleet