In December I wrote about the credible rumor that Amazon.com would start its own cargo airline with word that they planed to lease 20 Boeing 767s.
Frustrated by delays at third party delivery companies like UPS, they figured they could do it better themselves.
In fact, the plan is bigger than first reported. They intend to lease 40 planes in the next two years.
Here’s a timelapse of the repainting of the first Amazon Prime Air Boeing 767-300 operated by Atlas Air and named Amazon One:
Planes will come in equal numbers from both Atlas Air and also Air Transport Services Group which flew test flights between its Wilmington, Ohio cargo base and Amazon warehouses last fall.
Prime Air of course was supposed to be Amazon’s drone delivery system.
While initially intended to support their own deliveries, this could eventually put Amazon in direct competition with other commercial air shipping companies like UPS and FedEx. Like Amazon servers this is flex capacity that they may need at peak holiday shipping times, but once up and running might otherwise be underutilized the rest of the year. That gives them the opportunity to build out the business at very low marginal cost.