Amazon announces delivery of freighter, takes step closer to becoming an integrator

Amazon’s ATSG stake reflects ‘lead operator’ status

More freighters are likely to follow the fortieth 767F in Amazon Air's fleet.

E-tailer Amazon is edging closer to becoming an integrator with yesterday’s delivery of the fortieth 767-300 converted freighter, Valor, to its air carrier subsidiary, Amazon Air. The delivery was announced at the Seattle-based company’s post-Veteran’s Day event in Long Beach, California.

As reported by our sister publication Air Cargo World, the 767-300F (28865) completes Amazon’s initial order of forty dedicated freighters for its air network, and the twentieth 767-300F operated for the company on a CMI basis by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW), and leased from AAWW’s Titan Aviation leasing unit. The remaining twenty freighters in the network are operated by Air Transport Services Group subsidiary carriers, ATI International and ABX Air.

Over the past several years, Amazon has doubled-down on the expansion of its supply chain and fulfillment structure, launching a dedicated freighter network, and enlarging the reach of its own-operated last-mile delivery services to include fifty US cities. Earlier this year, Amazon began selling capacity across its delivery network with the launch of its “Shipping with Amazon” (SWA) pilot service. In September, the company also announced an order with Mercedes-Benz for 20,000 delivery vans, which will be delivered to Amazon-affiliated independent operators by the end of 2019 to support the company’s “Flex” last-mile delivery program.

With dedicated freighter operations and an expanding ground network, Amazon is seen by many in the air freight industry as a potential competitor to logistics giants FedEx and UPS. FedEx though, has refuted these speculations. saying that its infrastructure, built up over four decades, gives it an advantage over Amazon.

It will not be an easy feat for Amazon to match the network reach of FedEx and UPS, but with expanding air and ground networks, and a $1.5 billion air hub under construction at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG), Amazon is looking increasingly like an integrator. It remains to be seen however, if it will indeed become one.

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