Here is Amazon’s first ever branded cargo plane ‘Amazon One’, part of a planned fleet of 40 Prime Air jets. The aim of this investment in air transport is to vastly improve the web giant’s supply chain operations across the US. In particular Amazon is hoping to speed up cargo transportation between its distribution centres, and make next day delivery possible for US inventory that wasn’t previously available for the next day service.
The first branded plane is a Boeing 767-300 – and is operated by Atlas Air, an existing provider of air cargo services for Amazon.com. Drumming up much media excitement, the jet made a ‘special guest flyover’ at Seattle’s Boeing Seafair Air Show on Friday (05.08.16)
The jet is part of what will eventually become a fleet of 40 planes, delivering to DCs around the US and connecting with Amazon’s network of 4,000 branded truck trailers, as well as the new Amazon Flex delivery system, and the services provided by third party partners such as UPS and FedEx.
In a press statement the company’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations, Dave Clarke, said a more expansive air transportation network was Amazon’s master plan in the US, “expanding our capacity to ensure great delivery speeds for our Prime members for years to come”.
The company will lease 40 planes in total from Atlas Air and another partner, Ohio-based Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) for its Prime Air cargo operations in the next two years, he said.
Ten ATSG planes have been flying shipments for the online retailer for several months, under the terms of a lease and operation agreement, it has been reported. The 11th plane is the first to be operated on Amazon’s behalf by New York-based Atlas Air, and the first to be splashed with Amazon’s custom-designed livery. Watch the launch video below:
Clearly this move is part of a broad effort by Amazon to speed delivery for its ever-demanding customers, and it makes sense in the US where domestic delivery distances can be vast. The serious investment in air freight has been cleverly supported with high profile marketing that ensures Amazon keeps its superfans happy, and grabs worldwide media attention. While drones have been in the news extensively too, creating a talking point for consumers and business people alike, there is limited use of the technology, and it’s hard to see how drones will make a big impact on the way the majority of parcels are delivered. However a strategy to jet inventory between states could really beef up Amazon’s package distribution network and cut delivery times by days.
According to interviews given to the press, Amazon is hoping to make next day delivery possible for US inventory that wasn’t previously available for next day service. While the cost of this has not been made public, Amazon has said the investment is a long term commitment to customer service – hard to argue with. A big question is, once the US is up and running, where next for Amazon air cargo planes?
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