Amazon Air continues to scale back flights with European reduction

Amazon Air B737-800F

Amazon Air is reducing the number of flights it completes in Europe after rapidly ramping up operations over the last few years.

The e-commerce giant’s flights in Europe were launched in 2020 and were largely carried out by ASL Airlines using Boeing 737-800 freighters.

In a brief statement to Air Cargo News, Amazon confirmed that flight numbers were being reduced, but said this would not affect delivery times.

“At Amazon we are constantly evaluating and refining our network to ensure we can provide customers fast, reliable delivery. We are reducing some Amazon Air flights in Europe, which won’t have any impact on the existing delivery experience that customers can expect from Amazon in the region.”

Amazon has in recent years expanded its European fulfillment network and looks to be leveraging its larger footprint to place inventory closer to the customers, which reduces the need to fly products.

While flying with ASL appears to have been reduced, it does seem that the aircraft operator is still operating flights on behalf of Amazon.

The number of flights being carried out in Europe for Amazon were being ramped up as recently as March last year while it is also developing a hub facility at Leipzig/Halle in Germany.

The Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development said that the e-commerce giant’s air cargo arm had expanded its flying in Europe to an average of 38 daily flights in March 2022 compared with 18 daily flights in August 2021. These include Amazon’s aircraft operated by ASL and non-Amazon aircraft operated by partners.

Fleet website Planespotters lists nine B737-800 freighters as being operated by ASL on behalf of Amazon.

ASL declined to comment on its customers’ business but did say that it was reducing pilot numbers in Germany.

“We can confirm that ASL Airlines is reducing our contracted pilot support in Europe,” the company said.

“Our operations can change from time to time in accordance with the requirements of our cargo customers and our pilot numbers can fluctuate accordingly.

“We currently have a surplus of 28 pilots who are of various nationalities and are based in Germany. These pilots are employed by a third-party contractor and it is a matter of deep regret that these contracts are being terminated and we are very much aware of the impact on the pilots involved.

“However, we are very hopeful that the contractor will be able to reassign the pilots, and we will also prioritise these pilots for positions in ASL Airlines when we are recruiting.”

Amazon has also been reducing its flying in North America. CargoFacts recently confirmed that the e-commerce firm had ended its operations with regional carrier Silver Airways.

The carrier had been operating five ATR-72 aircraft on behalf of Amazon.

Meanwhile, last year ATSG said that Amazon, along with DHL, was also scaling back its operations with them.

The lessor said that the US e-commerce giant and the German logistics company were trimming their US supply chain networks in response to economic constraints and reduced e-commerce spending in the US.

ATSG expects to: “Continue to lease into 2024 four of twelve Boeing 767-200 freighters currently leased to Amazon and operated by ATSG’s cargo airlines.

“Leases for the other eight are due to expire between May and September 2023. [Subsidiary Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM)] expects to retire at least three of the eight due to airframe cycle limitations and utilise the engines removed to support other 767-200 lease customers.

“CAM expects to re-lease and/or sell the remaining five 767-200 freighters which Amazon may not extend.”

Amazon and DHL scale back ATSG freighter operations

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector. After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015. Contact me on [email protected]