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Amazon Air hires ATSG to fly six more freighters

E-commerce and logistics giant also purchases first cargo jet

Amazon Air is giving more flying business to Air Transport International, an ATSG company. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Air Transport Services Group (NASDAQ: ATSG) will operate six more medium-size freighters for Amazon Air, operationalizing a lease agreement struck in late May, the company announced Wednesday.

ATSG subsidiary Air Transport International will fly the six Boeing 767 converted freighters under a preexisting contract with Amazon to provide crew, maintenance and insurance. Amazon is leasing the planes for 10 years from another ATSG company, Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM), part of a deal this summer for 12 aircraft

The first leased freighter began operating under the Amazon banner in May, with the remainder scheduled to start work next year.

With the new flight award, ATSG projects that its airlines will operate 38 767s for Amazon Air by April 2021, 36 of which CAM leases to Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN).

A higher work tempo for Amazon due to increased e-commerce sales helped ATSG achieve a 20% increase in second-quarter pre-tax earnings.

Amazon’s chartered fleet numbers about 60 aircraft, but now it appears to have taken ownership of its first aircraft. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft registry database shows that Services registered a 767-300 on Aug. 31. It has also reserved four more registration numbers for future aircraft, FreightWaves confirmed.

Cargo Facts first reported Amazon Air’s aircraft purchase.

(Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly credited another publication for originally reporting on Amazon’s new ownership in a cargo jet. Cargo Facts was first to unearth that news.)

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


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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]