Amazon ramps up air fleet with purchase of 11 Boeing 767-300 jets

The four WestJet planes are being converted to cargo jets and will join the Amazon Air fleet this year, while the seven Delta planes will be added in 2022

                                

Amazon is to buy 11 used Boeing 767-300 jets from Delta and WestJet, as it looks to push for faster delivery services amidst the pandemic which has boosted online shopping.

The four WestJet planes are being converted to cargo jets and will join the Amazon Air fleet this year, while the seven Delta planes will be added in 2022 after their conversion, the e-commerce giant stated.

Amazon Air cargo operations have previously run through aircraft-leasing agreements. This is the first ever outright purchase of aircraft, Amazon said. The price paid for the planes has not yet been disclosed.

Amazon launched its air fleet in 2016 but still relies on other carriers for many of its deliveries. Its 767 fleet is operated by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and Air Transport Services Group. It is not yet clear which airlines will operate the newly purchased planes.

“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 with meeting our customer promises,” Sarah Rhoads, vice president of Amazon Global Air, said.

Amazon said the Amazon Air fleet will have more than 85 planes, both leased and owned, by the end of 2022. 

The expansion builds on Amazon’s increase its air cargo fleet last year. The company’s $1.5bn (€1.2bn, £1.1bn) air hub in Kentucky which is said to open this year (2021) has a capacity for 100 Amazon-branded planes and is expected to handle an estimated 200 flights per day.

In June, Delta said it planned to retire seven of its Boeing 767-300ER jets by the end of 2020 and in October announced plans to retire the remaining 49 of its 767-300ER aircraft by the end of 2025.

Separately, Amazon said it would spend $2bn to create affordable homes in regions where three of its US employment hubs are located.

It intends to create at least 20,000 affordable housing units in Puget Sound area of Washington State, Virginia’s Arlington and Nashville in Tennessee.

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