Amazon is currently testing its Prime Air drones in the UK to avoid FAA regulations, but while the UAV program may not arrive on US shores for some time, the online retail giant will soon be launching its first branded cargo airplane: Amazon One.
The company is showcasing the Boeing 767-300 this weekend at Seattle’s SeaFair Air Show. It will be flown and operated by Atlas Air Worldwide, which provides Amazon’s air cargo services.
The cargo plane, which displays the Prime Air and Amazon smile logos, is one of 40 Boeing 767s that the company is leasing from Atlas and its other cargo partner, Air Transport Services Group. There are currently 11 dedicated planes flying for the company, with the remainder rolling out over the coming years.
“Creating an air transportation network is expanding our capacity to ensure great delivery speeds for our Prime members for years to come,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, in a press release. “I cannot imagine a better way to celebrate the inaugural flight than in our hometown at Seafair alongside Amazon employees and Seattle residents.”
With its fleet of planes, 4000 truck trailers, and Uber-style Flex delivery vans - along with the eventual arrival of drones and container ships - the big question is whether the logistics network Amazon is building will ultimately see it abandon partners FedEx and UPS altogether, and perhaps even start competing aginst the two giants with its own delivery service.
Jeff Bezos says this isn’t Amazon's intentions, claiming the firm just needs the additional capacity, but, as it proved with AWS, if there’s an opportunity to move into a new, money-making business then Amazon won’t stand idly by.