In a bid to expand its air cargo operation, Amazon Inc. has bought 11 used Boeing 767-300 planes, the first time the online retail giant has purchased aircraft. According to BBC, the company said that the fleet of planes would "support Amazon’s growing customer base". While the first air operation had launched in 2016, the previous planes were, however, leased. But now, the company said that it has bought seven aircraft from Delta Air Lines Inc. and four from WestJet Airlines Ltd.
Sarah Rhoads, who is the vice president of Amazon Global Air, said that the company’s goal is to continue delivering customers across the US in the way that they expect from Amazon. She said that the recent purchase of their own aircraft is a natural next step toward that goal. Further, Rhoads added having a mix of both leased and owned aircraft will allow them to better manage their operations, which in turn will help them keep pace in meeting customer promises.
Now, Amazon’s Delta jets will start flying routes in 2022. By the end of next year, the firm also expects to have more than 85 planes in service, a spokesperson said. In recent years, Amazon has also rapidly expanded its air cargo, which is a part of an effort to speed up delivery of packages to customers and supplement capacity from such carriers as United Parcel Service Inc. Moreover, as the online retail giant has built up its own delivery operation, which includes tens of thousands of cargo vans, the company has gone out of its way to highlight its continued reliance on other cargo companies.
However, Amazon already handles most of its own deliveries and has emerged as a competitor to partners that delivered almost all of the company’s goods. According to reports, FedEx Corp had even said that it wouldn’t renew its air delivery contract with Amazon. Last year it was also estimated that Amazon’s fleet would likely grow to 200 aircraft in the coming years, rivalling UPS in size. Currently, the company operated mostly from the smaller, regional airport close to its warehouse in a bid to accommodate quick delivery.