Amazon is reportedly the entity behind a secretive air cargo operation launched this past September codenamed “Aerosmith.”
According to an investigative report from Motherboard, the project is being run by holding company Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) out of the Wilmington Air Park in Wilmington, Ohio. The facility, described as a non-passenger airport with two runways and major sorting / cargo capabilities, was once used by DHL. The airport has been largely underutilized ever since the courier moved its operations elsewhere in 2008.
The publication has learned that the “mystery” company has been conducting flights to and from Wilmington Air Park with airports in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Ontario, Canada; Tampa, Florida and Oakland, California. Coincidentally, Amazon operates distribution centers within 60 miles or less from each destination airport.
Paul Cunningham, a spokesperson for ATSG, wouldn’t disclose who was behind the operation as he was bound by a non-disclosure agreement. He did, however, reveal that the client was moving general consumer goods.
DHL, FedEx and UPS all confirmed that they weren’t behind the operation. In a statement from Amazon, the company simply said that it has long utilized air capacity through a variety of great partners to transport packages and they expect that to continue.
Last month, a person reportedly familiar with Amazon’s plans told DC Velocity that the e-commerce giant was assembling a team of high-level executives to lead its push in developing its own transportation network.
If true, the move makes a lot of sense at it would allow Amazon to decrease its dependence on major couriers like FedEx, UPS and the US Postal Service. Doing may also help Amazon offset shipping costs and boost profits, no doubt good news for the company and its investors given its thin margins.