Amazon swoops on 11 B767s as it looks to fleet expansion

By Damian Brett

Amazon Air has continued to expand its owned-freighter fleet with the purchase of seven B767-300 aircraft from Delta Air Lines.

As well as the purchase of aircraft from Delta, Amazon also confirmed that it had bought four B767-300 aircraft from WestJet.

These 11 aircraft are the first owned directly by Amazon, has run its air cargo business through lease deals with ATSG, Atlas Air and Sun Country in North America and Gecas/ASL in Europe.

The company said it would continue to rely on third-party carriers to operate these new aircraft.

The four aircraft purchased from WestJet in March are currently undergoing passenger to cargo conversion and will join Amazon Air’s network in 2021, and the seven aircraft from Delta will enter Amazon’s air cargo network in 2022.

Amazon said its fleet expansion comes at a time when customers are relying on “fast, free shipping more than ever”.

“Our goal is to continue delivering for customers across the US in the way that they expect from Amazon, and purchasing our own aircraft is a natural next step toward that goal,” said Sarah Rhoads, vice president at Amazon Global Air. “Having a mix of both leased and owned aircraft in our growing fleet allows us to better manage our operations, which in turn helps us to keep pace in meeting our customer promises.”

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.

Delta has been busy retiring aircraft as it prepares for the delivery of 223 firm orders of Airbus aircraft, according to data provider Cirium.

“Seattle-based Amazon Air already has 74 aircraft in service including 22 Boeing 737NGs and 52 767s,” Cirium said. “The cargo carrier founded in 2016 grew its fleet rapidly from 68 aircraft in September. This latest deal with Delta would place Amazon close to its ambition to have a fleet of 80 aircraft by the end of 2021.”

Cirium added that the current market conditions could allow Amazon to purchase more aircraft for conversion at a good price as passenger airlines continue to come under pressure because of the Covid-19 outbreak and look to offload unwanted aircraft.

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