Amazon, the online retailer, is investing in leasing cargo planes from Atlas Air Worldwide to improve its shipping capabilities.
Amazon will lease 20 Boeing 767 cargo planes from Atlas, and Amazon will hold as much as a 30 percent stake in Atlas over the next decade. Amazon relies on getting its products to customers as quickly and easily as possible, so not having to rely on shippers like UPS or FedEx may make that process more efficient.
“We are excited to begin a strategic long-term relationship with Amazon to support the continuing expansion of its e-commerce business and to enhance its customer delivery capabilities,” said Atlas president and CEO William J. Flynn. “We appreciate Amazon’s confidence in our capabilities, global scale and operating excellence.”
Amazon has worked with Atlas Air in the past, and the company announced a similar arrangement in March when it revealed it would be leasing 20 of the same cargo planes from Atlas, according to The Verge.
Amazon has also tested out using its own trucks with its own employees to get packages from the distribution centers to the homes of customers.
A Bloomberg report from February revealed Amazon has a project called Dragon Boat that would make it so Amazon controls shipping from its factories in Asia all the way to the front doors of Americans in major cities. The report stated Amazon will initially partner with the major shippers across the world until the company has a fully operational shipping operation of its own.
Beyond partnering with companies like Atlas and starting its own shipping network, Amazon has announced plans for things like drone delivery. These drones would take packages from the closest distribution center to someone’s door step. Amazon and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have been working together to see what the drone program would look like and what restrictions may need to be put in place.
Shares of Atlas Air went up over 50 percent after the announcement the company would be doing the deal with Amazon, according to Bloomberg.
“We are excited to welcome a great provider, Atlas Air, to support package delivery to the rapidly growing number of Prime members who love ultra-fast delivery, great prices and vast selection from Amazon,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations.
Atlas Air specializes in leasing out large Boeing cargo planes, and it is a leader in the industry. The company operates the “world’s largest fleet of Boeing 747” airplanes.
Amazon is very focused on making delivery of its products as quick as possible. The company recently announced its new website PrimeNow.com will allow users to order products that will arrive within one to two hours of the order being placed, according to Ars Technica. It’s hard to imagine delivery getting any faster than that.
Amazon’s new Prime website charges $7.99 for the one-hour deliveries, but the two-hour delivery option is free. These options are only available to people who are already Amazon Prime members. Furthermore, the service isn’t available in all areas. Customers will have to put in their zip code and see if they can use the service to be sure they can get such a quick delivery.
Amazon has also recently announced it will start delivering groceries to customers in the United Kingdom as part of its AmazonFresh program, which is already active within the United States. That means customers across the world will soon be able to order their groceries, along with many other items, and have Amazon deliver them on its own, without any third party delivery service.
Amazon and Atlas’ partnership is clearly just one piece of Amazon’s bold plans to change the way goods are delivered.
[Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images]