Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on FreightWaves.com.
Amazon Air, the private cargo airline of giant digital retailer and logistics provider Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), dramatically increased flight activity to help fulfill a huge increase in online orders on Cyber Monday, according to researchers at DePaul University.
Amazon Air operated 209 flights on Cyber Monday and 206 flights the following day, November 30, a 26 percent increase over a similar period in late August, according to the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul in its winter newsletter published Wednesday.
The flight tempo was 140 percent greater than when the DePaul research team first evaluated Amazon’s network in May 2020.
The number of flights at Amazon’s newly transformed national hub at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (KCVG) grew to 30 per day, from about 28 before the expansion, not including flights operated by ABX Air and Air Transport International under their own brand names, the study said. ABX and ATI are subsidiaries of Air Transport Service Group (NASDAQ: ATSG), in which Amazon has an equity stake.
Amazon has added a total of 23 aircraft to its fleet since February. CargoFacts reported in October that Amazon is interested in acquiring Boeing 777-300 and Airbus A330-300 aircraft to its fleet. Both widebodies are a step up in size from the Boeing 767 and would allow Amazon to directly move products from China to the U.S. and Europe.
Amazon Air has expanded at an astounding rate since its launch five years ago and now boasts a fleet of 81 aircraft, up from 73 since late August, all of which are operated by for-hire cargo airlines. Amazon’s fleet, nearly all of which is leased from contract carriers, consists of medium-widebody 767s as well as smaller, standard-size Boeing 737 converted freighters. The 767s can carry 39 shipping containers, each able to hold hundreds of packages.
The 767-300 is the mainstay of the Amazon Air fleet, with 41 in service as of September, according to London-based aviation advisory and appraisal firm IBA. Amazon has committed to receive an additional 11 Boeing 767-300s once they have been converted to handle freight.
Why This Matters
Amazon previously posted on its website that it achieved record-breaking sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in late November, although no specific figures were provided. Online sales among all retailers for Black Friday were up 7 percent from 2020 and were expected to set an all-time record for the so-called Cyber Week, according to Salesforce.