‘Transportation juggernaut’ Amazon Air further expands fleet with purchase of 7 ex-Delta Boeing 767s

Dec 31, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Amazon Air has purchased seven retired ex-Delta Boeing 767-300ERs during a year where cargo operators brought on a record number of freighter aircraft. In a twist, Amazon moved away from its usual model of dry leasing aircraft from operators such as Atlas Air and Southern Air. It also inked a deal in December 2019 with Sun Country to operate 10 cargo aircraft on its behalf.

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-332 at Los Angeles international Airport. (Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

New to The Points Guy? Sign up for our daily newsletter.

The Seattle-based cargo carrier was launched in 2016 as a way to meet its commitment to get Amazon Prime customers their packages in a promised one- to two-day delivery window. The move was also seen as a way to bring its logistics operations in-house so it could have more control over delivery costs and speed. It now operated more than 70 of its own jets as cargo continues to grow.

A map that shows the proximity of Amazon Air’s airports on the U.S. mainland to its fulfillment centers. The red circles
designate airports with Amazon flights, based on a sample encompassing flights on a randomly selected day. (Map by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University)

The first three aircraft are being retrofitted to freighter configurations before Amazon begins flying them.

More growth is on the horizon, as Amazon prepares to open its new $1.5 billion air hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) in 2021. The hub will have the capacity to handle 100 Amazon jets and operate 200 flights a day.

Related: Flying high: Cargo airlines are expanding their fleets during the pandemic

A May 2020 report by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University studied Amazon Air and concluded the following:

  • Putting more emphasis on cargo-only airports than most other package-shipment providers
  • More oriented toward daytime flights and point-to-point routes than FedEx and UPS
  • Expanding its fleet to 70 airplanes by 2021 and could grow to 200 planes in seven or eight years
  • Making Cincinnati (CVG), Chicago Rockford (RFD), Ontario (OND), Tampa (TPA) and Wilmington (ILN) focal points
  • Creating a CVG megahub that greatly boosts its potential to be a multi-purpose delivery provider

“Amazon Air is 2020’s transportation juggernaut, flying above the turbulence facing most cargo and passenger airlines during the coronavirus epidemic,” said the report. It also noted that the cargo carrier has expanded rapidly to help handle surging online buying driven by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Amazon Air’s expansion marks one of the most significant developments in the U.S. air-cargo business in years and gives a boost to airports seeking to cultivate freight traffic,” said the report.

Featured photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.