Amazon bought 11 Boeing 767-300 aircraft from commercial airlines to support its “growing customer base,” the marketplace announced on Tuesday. They will be operating in Amazon’s network by 2022.
“Amazon Air’s fleet expansion comes at a time when customers are relying on fast, free shipping more than ever,” the company said in its announcement. The news comes after a holiday shopping season that saw unprecedented delays by shipping carriers, with some sellers reporting USPS is still behind.
Sarah Rhoads, Vice President of Amazon Global Air, said having a mix of leased and owned aircraft in its growing fleet helps Amazon better manage its operations. She said the company’s goal was to continue delivering for US customers “in the way that they expect from Amazon.”
CNBC noted that Amazon has been steadily building up its air cargo fleet through leasing agreements but said that Tuesday’s announcement marked its first-ever outright aircraft purchase.
Four aircraft purchased from WestJet in March are currently undergoing passenger-to-cargo conversion and will join Amazon Air’s network in 2021.
The seven aircraft from Delta will enter Amazon’s air cargo network in 2022.
Amazon said it would continue to rely on third-party carriers to operate the new aircraft.
In its announcement, Amazon summarized recent initiatives with regard to air logistics:
“Last year, Amazon launched its first-ever air hub at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany and new regional air operations at Lakeland Linder International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Richmond International Airport, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, Kahului Airport, Kona International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Louis Armstrong International Airport.
“This summer, Amazon Air announced its purchase of six million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel and has already invested in leading-edge electric ground service equipment and solar rooftop panels planned at some facilities.
“Since Amazon Air’s launch in 2016, Amazon has invested hundreds of millions of dollars and created thousands of new jobs at Amazon Air locations across the U.S.”