Amazon Takes Delivery Speeds to New Heights with Prime Air

August 05, 2016
By: Alicia Young

For many of us, Amazon Prime is our best friend. We rely heavily on the company to deliver us the products we need in two days. Honestly, why go to the store anymore after a long day of work when you can buy the same item, probably cheaper, on Amazon and have it show up on your doorstep two days later?  If it’s not an urgent need, Amazon is the route many people go. Have you ever wondered, though, how they deliver these packages so quickly? It certainly seems like magic, but it’s actually thanks to cargo planes.

This week Amazon unveiled its first branded “Prime Air” cargo plane, called Amazon One, which is one of 40 jetliners that will make up the e-commerce’s own air transportation network. As of now, Amazon relies on other air freight services, which don’t always get customers their products in the promised two days. It’s true that we customers can be a demanding bunch; Prime offers us an amazing two day delivery guarantee, and there’s nothing more disappointing than getting home on that second day and realizing that your package isn’t waiting for you. Amazon had a major problem with this around Christmas in 2013, and offered refunds to customers who got their orders late after bad weather and a jump in online shopping caused delays for UPS and FedEx.

To avoid more of these problems, Amazon is taking transportation into their own hands. Their parcel volume was an estimated 1 billion packages in 2015, and they want to make sure that all of those packages arrive on time from now on. Their new air fleet is one of the ways in which Amazon is working to ensure that deliveries are made on time, with no extra cost to the customer. To put this plan into action, they have leased 40 Boeing (News - Alert) jets from Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and Air Transport Services Group Inc., which will operate the air cargo network. There are already eleven planes in use, and the rest will be put into action over the upcoming years.

Aircraft like Amazon One allow the company to "continue to maintain our fast delivery speeds and lower our costs as our Prime base and our Prime member growth continue to soar," said Dave Clark, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations.

Between the creation of this air fleet and the building of more distribution centers around the country, Amazon is working hard to make sure their customers are kept satisfied. Despite their use of planes, though, they are still planning on using FedEx, UPS and other transportation partners as well. With all these transportation forces at work, it’s safe to say that those instances where you come home to a missing package will become far and few between.

Clark seems optimistic for the future of Amazon and the unlocked potential these planes represent, saying, “Stay tuned and we’ll see what happens in the future.”

Edited by Ken Briodagh