Amazon launches Prime Air cargo plane fleet

The freighter capability is needed to keep up with orders and to ramp up speed of delivery.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

While Amazon's drone program remains in testing, the e-commerce giant is turning to cargo planes to keep up with package delivery demands.

At Seattle's Seafair Air Show on Friday, Amazon will display what could be the first of many Amazon-branded cargo planes dedicated to the firm's Prime delivery service. The plane, dubbed Amazon One, is a Boeing 767-300 operated by Atlas Air, the airline which provides air cargo services to Amazon.

In a press release, the e-commerce giant said Amazon One is one of 40 which will be leased by Amazon through both Atlas Air and ATSG.

Dave Clark, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations, told Recode that the cargo planes will provide additional shipping capacity for peak periods and additional flexibility as Amazon's Prime subscription service grows.

In Q2 2016, Amazon posted record profits, reporting a net income of $857 million -- $1.78 per share -- on revenues of $30.4 billion.

"Creating an air transportation network is expanding our capacity to ensure great delivery speeds for our Prime members for years to come," said Clark. "I cannot imagine a better way to celebrate the inaugural flight than in our hometown at Seafair alongside Amazon employees and Seattle residents."

There are currently 11 planes charged with exclusively delivering packages and products to Amazon's fulfillment centers and additional planes will be rolled out over time as Amazon's marketplace remains a popular stop for online shoppers.

See also: Amazon plans to recharge Prime Air drones on street lights

Amazon has also turned to help outside of the firm's main ecosystem to keep up with delivery demands. Over the past year Amazon has been touting the Flex mobile app, which allows users to sign up, be vetted, and then become a delivery driver for the company. In addition to the new cargo planes, Amazon now has over 4,000 trailers and trucks on the books.

In related news this week, Amazon revealed the addition of new connected devices and brands to the Dash Replenishment Service (DRS), a platform which detects when supplies including household goods are running low and automatically reorders them through the Amazon marketplace.

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