One industry’s problem is another industry’s solution. Amazon Air announced that it is buying 11 of Delta’s and WestJet’s jet planes, as the lack of personal travel demand becomes an answer for the increasing e-commerce cargo demand.
The used Boeing 767-300 jets will help Amazon respond to the call for faster deliveries amid an increase of orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company had been addressing the need for expanding its air delivery fleet through leasing agreements since starting it in 2016, but Amazon said this was its first-ever addition by purchase.
The four WestJet planes will become Amazon cargo planes this year, with seven Delta planes being converted for 2022. Those purchases will bring the fleet total to more than 85 planes, according to Amazon. The fleet could grow to more than 200 to close the gap with the likes of FedEx, UPS and DHL.
“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,” Amazon Global Air Vice President Sarah Rhoads said in a statement.
Amazon plans to open a $1.5 billion air hub in Kentucky this year. It could handle the entire 2022 fleet and 200 flights per day. The plane prices were undisclosed, but Ascend values the Delta planes at $13 million to $14 million each after recent depreciation. Delta had been planning to retire seven of its Boeing 767s by the end of this year.
Once again, Amazon is associated with a deal.