October 5, 2023

Amazon’s largest cargo jet makes debut


The largest freighter in Amazon’s private air fleet has made three round trips so far during its inaugural week in service, flying from the national hub at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International to San Bernardino International Airport in California, according to data available on tracking site Flightradar24.

Hawaiian Airlines is operating the new Airbus A330-300 freighter for Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), which has committed to lease nine more used aircraft once they are overhauled into a cargo configuration for containers. All but one of the remaining deliveries are scheduled for next year.

FreightWaves reporting last month foreshadowed that San Bernardino would be the initial destination for the new freighter because it is home to Amazon’s new West Coast regional hub and the plane was temporarily stationed there while the new crews and ground personnel made themselves familiar with the aircraft.

Amazon has said the A330s will operate in its domestic network and replace aging 767-200 freighters as their leases expire. ABX Air and Air Transport International, owned by Air Transport Services Group, and Atlas Air fly the 767s for Amazon.

The A330 has about 20% more volume and is more fuel-efficient than the 767 family of aircraft. It has nearly as much capacity as a Boeing 777.

Amazon uses its air logistics network to meet one- and two-day delivery promises for eligible Prime members.

Hawaiian Airlines’ experience operating A330 passenger aircraft gave it a leg up for the new Amazon flying contract. Hawaiian is hiring about 160 new pilots to support the Amazon cargo operation and will also carry out routine maintenance on the A330 aircraft.

The online retail giant’s flight activity has slowed considerably this year as e-commerce sales normalize following a pandemic-era boom, but modest growth stands in contrast to the flight pullbacks at FedEx and UPS. Amazon Air confirmed this week that it will no longer use Leipzig/Halle airport in Germany as one of its European hubs.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

Twitter: @ericreports / LinkedIn: Eric Kulisch / [email protected]


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The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

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