Amazon to lease 15 more freighters from GECAS as it ramps up delivery operation

Amazon Air B737-800F

E-commerce giant Amazon has announced it will lease a further 15 B737-800 converted freighters from lessor GECAS as it continues to invest in “fast, free shipping” for customers.

Today, at the International Paris Air Show, the company announced a partnership with GECAS to lease an additional fifteen Boeing 737-800 cargo aircraft, in addition to the five Boeing 737-800’s already leased from the company.

When delivered, the e-commerce company’s freighter fleet will be made up of 70 aircraft.

“The aircraft will fly in the United States out of the more than 20 air gateways in the Amazon Air network,” Amazon said.

“These new aircraft create additional capacity for Amazon Air, building on the investment in our Prime Free One-Day programme,” said Dave Clark, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations at Amazon. “By 2021, Amazon Air will have a portfolio of 70 aircraft flying in our dedicated air network.”

“We’re delighted to support Amazon Air’s dedicated air network,” said Richard Greener, GECAS Cargo’s Senior Vice President. “The capability of the 737-800 freighter will further Amazon’s ability to provide reliable and regional delivery to its customers for years to come.”

Amazon’s fleet is operated by ATSG and Atlas Air. It is not yet known which of the two will operate the next 15 B737s, although the contract for the first five was awarded to Atlas subsidiary Southern Air.

Amazon Air’s operation launched in 2016 supporting package delivery to the rapidly growing number of customers who “love fast delivery, affordable prices and vast selection”.

“With advanced algorithms and software used for capacity and route planning, the Amazon Air operation can transport hundreds of thousands of packages per day,” the company said.

Amazon will open new air facilities this year at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, Wilmington Air Park, and Chicago Rockford International Airport. The main Air Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport will open in 2021.

Amazon has launched several initiatives to ensure fast delivery speeds and supply chain capacity for its customers, including its Delivery Service Partner programme, Amazon Flex, the company’s mobile application that allows individuals to sign-up, be vetted and begin delivering for Amazon, a dedicated network of over 10,000 trailers to increase trucking capacity and, now, the expanded fleet of cargo aircraft.

Amazon also has more than 185 fulfillment centers where it uses algorithms, robotics, machine learning and other technological innovations to increase delivery speeds for customers.

“Amazon is now bringing the same technological expertise to efforts in the transportation space to increase shipping capacity for customers,” Amazon said.

The move comes shortly after FedEx announced that it was ending its domestic US business with Amazon, a move described by one industry commentator as a “watershed moment” for the express industry.

Air Cargo News sister title DVZ reports Amazon has also been busy expanding an airfreight network in Europe with calls in Spain and Italy, although these are flown by DHL third party airlines EAT and DHL Air and operator ASL.

The e-commerce company first launched services in Europe in 2017 with flights between Germany, the UK and Poland.

Yesterday, GECAS announced an order for 10 more B737-800 converted freighters at the airshow.

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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]