Amazon Air has signed a lease agreement that will see Jeff Bezos’ cargo arm take on 12 Boeing 767-300s from Ohio-based Air Transport Services Group (ATSG).
In a statement released 3 June, the Seattle-based company announced the lease, saying that it comes at a time when “people in communities across the country continue to adjust to this unprecedented time, with many relying on having the items they need delivered directly to their doorstep”.
“Amazon Air is critical to ensuring fast delivery for our customers – both in the current environment we are facing, and beyond,” said Sarah Rhoads, vice president of Amazon Global Air.
“During a time when so many of our customers rely on us to get what they need without leaving their homes, expanding our dedicated air network ensures we have the capacity to deliver what our customers want: great selection, low prices and fast shipping speeds.”
Cirium data shows that this adds to an existing fleet of 70 aircraft, which the company said has been put to good use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
Amazon Air claims to have helped transport “essential PPE supplies for Amazon associates, frontline health workers and relief organisations across the US, all while maintaining capacity for regular cargo operations to ensure customers continue to receive the items they need”.
On its part, ATSG said that industry experience and access to 767s makes the leasing agency an “ideal partner” as Amazon Air looks to continue adding to its fleet.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the sharpest year-on-year drop in global cargo demand to date, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) posting a 28 per cent drop in April.
IATA chief Alexandre de Juniac said on 1 June that this, combined with grounding of fleets in general, had led to “a severe capacity crunch in air cargo”.
Cargo operators, including Amazon, have looked to fill this capacity shortage. The company plans to steam ahead with operational expansions scheduled for Lakeland Linder International Airport and San Bernardino International.