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Amazon adds to air cargo capacity

Amazon is taking to the skies to help make one-day delivery a reality.

Amazon is partnering with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) to lease an additional 15 Boeing 737-800 cargo aircraft. These 15 aircraft will be in addition to five Boeing 737-800s already leased from GECAS and announced earlier this year. In addition, Amazon expanded upon an existing 40-plane lease partnership with Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) by leasing 10 Boeing 767 cargo planes in December 2018.

Amazon launched Amazon Air in 2016 to support package delivery without relying on third-party shipping providers such as UPS, FedEx, or the U.S. Postal Service. Leveraging advanced algorithms and software used for capacity and route planning, the e-tail titan says Amazon Air can transport hundreds of thousands of packages per day.

The company’s fleet of at least 50 leased aircraft will fly in the U.S. out of the more than 20 air gateways in the Amazon Air network. Amazon will open new air facilities this year at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, Wilmington Air Park, and Chicago Rockford International Airport. In addition, Amazon has broken ground for a new air hub located in Hebron, Kentucky at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The hub will open in 2021.

Amazon is bolstering its proprietary air shipping capabilities in the wake of announcing plans to cut its standard Prime shipping time from two days to one day during its April 25 earnings call. The company also recently started making free one-day delivery available to Prime members with no minimum purchase amount on more than 10 million products.

“These new aircraft create additional capacity for Amazon Air, building on the investment in our Prime free one-day program,” said Dave Clark, senior VP of worldwide operations at Amazon. “By 2021, Amazon Air will have a portfolio of 70 aircraft flying in our dedicated air network.”
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