Amazon buys 11 planes from Delta and Westjet

E-commerce giant will convert the Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft to handle cargo

An Amazon plane being loaded at Lehigh Valley international airport near New York. The company is converting 11 Boeing 767-300 passenger planes bought from Delta Air Lines and Canada's Westjet into cargo carriers. Reuters
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Global e-commerce giant Amazon is buying 11 Boeing aircraft from US airline Delta and Canada's WestJet to expand its cargo fleet.

The company said the 767-300 passenger planes will be converted into cargo units and join its Amazon Air network this year and next.

“Our goal is to continue delivering for customers across the US in the way that they expect from Amazon, and purchasing our own aircraft is a natural next step toward that goal,” said Sarah Rhoads, vice president of Amazon Global Air.

“Having a mix of both leased and owned aircraft in our growing fleet allows us to better manage our operations, which, in turn, helps us to keep pace with meeting our customer promises.”

The turmoil caused in the aviation industry by Covid-19 has also restricted cargo capacity, as there are fewer passenger planes carrying cargo within the belly of planes. Global capacity was 22.6 per cent lower year-on-year in October, the International Air Transport Association said last month, which was almost four times as large as the contraction in cargo demand.

Amazon said the planes it is adding to its network are aimed at "transporting items across longer distances in shorter time frames".

It is buying four planes from WestJet, which will join its network this year. The seven planes it is buying from Delta will enter service next year, the company said, adding that the fleet additions will ensure there is added capacity "for years to come".

The company said it would also continue to rely on third party carriers to operate its aircraft.