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Amazon Air Expands Fleet With 15 Boeing Freighter Aircraft

Amazon is partnering with GE Capital Aviation Services to lease an additional 15 Boeing 737-800 cargo aircraft that will enter the air network by 2021.

The online retail company said the move is its continual investment in ways to provide fast, free shipping for customers. At the International Paris Air Show on Tuesday, the company said the deal is in addition to the five Boeing 737-800s already leased from GE Capital Aviation announced earlier this year.

The aircraft will fly in the U.S. out of the more than 20 air gateways in the Amazon Air network.

“These new aircraft create additional capacity for Amazon Air, building on the investment in our Prime Free One-Day program,” Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations at Amazon, said. “By 2021, Amazon Air will have a portfolio of 70 aircraft flying in our dedicated air network.”

Amazon Air’s operation launched in 2016 to support package delivery to the rapidly growing number of customers who want fast delivery, affordable prices and vast selection. The Amazon Air operation, using advanced algorithms and software used for capacity and route planning, can transport hundreds of thousands of packages per day.

Amazon noted that it will open new air facilities this year at Fort Worth Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, Tex.; Wilmington Air Park in Wilmington, Ohio, and Chicago Rockford International Airport in Rockford, Ill. A main Air Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Ken., will open in 2021. Since its launch, Amazon’s air cargo operation has invested millions of dollars and created thousands of new jobs at locations across the U.S., the e-commerce giant said.

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Amazon noted that it has launched several initiatives to ensure fast delivery speeds and supply chain capacity for its customers, including its Delivery Service Partner program; Amazon Flex, the company’s mobile application that allows individuals to sign-up, be vetted and begin delivering for Amazon; and a dedicated network of more than 10,000 trailers to increase trucking capacity.

These efforts join Amazon’s robust worldwide network of more than 185 fulfillment centers where the company uses high-end algorithms, robotics, machine learning and other technological innovations to increase delivery speeds for customers.

Last month, the first of DHL’s new Boeing 777 Freighters began revenue service, taking off from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, its home operating base.

The replacement of the older intercontinental fleet with the most fuel-efficient and reliable freighter type allows DHL to meet the increasing global demand for express services. The new Boeing 777 strengthens DHL’s intercontinental services and connects major DHL hubs in Cincinnati, Leipzig, Hon Kong and elsewhere.

The new freighter is operated by DHL partner Southern Air. Another three B777 Fs are scheduled to arrive this year.