Amazon has been careful to keep interest in its slowly advancing drone delivery program, but if people are looking to the skies for the latest Amazon developments, they should start looking for larger aircraft instead.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), a cargo airline running flights out of a noncommercial Ohio airport, has expanded its fleet of aircraft from two Boeing 767s to five. Critical to this expansion, ATSG CFO Quint Turner said, was the support given and the growth required by its partner in crime — whose identity might be the worst kept secret in retail.
“We’d like to extend our provision of services to that customer for a longer period of time,” Turner said about ATSG’s plans to begin flights to Europe and China, as quoted by WSJ.
Motherboard first uncovered circumstantial evidence in Nov. 2015 that linked flights run by ATSG out of Ohio’s Wilmington Air Park to Amazon fulfillment centers within short driving distances from each cargo plane’s destination. If Amazon truly is the power behind ATSG’s throne, expanding its airborne cargo reach internationally could start to eat into the high rates its partner-carriers have begun to charge as a response to the catch-22 instigator of increased orders from Amazon.
ATSG operates a total of 47 widebody 767s, and while the Client-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is only using five at the moment, it’s a fortunate partnership nonetheless. WSJ explained that any new 767s manufactured by Boeing are slated for delivery to either the U.S. Air Force or FedEx. That means if (allegedly) Amazon wants to prepare a transformation into a retailer that flies its own cargo, it needs to ally itself with a group like ATSG that can shift some more 767s Amazon’s way in the future without having to go searching for another partner.