Later today, Amazon’s new gateway hub at Alaska’s Fairbanks International Airport will receive its first delivery. A Boeing 737 in the commercial giant’s blue and white livery will officially begin operations at the new hub. We’ve taken a look at what the new hub is like and what it means for Amazon customers.
Previously known as Amazon Prime Air, Amazon’s dedicated freighter airline, now called just Amazon Air, is about to get a new home. The airline announced its new gateway hub based at Fairbanks, Alaska, via LinkedIn. This new hub is the second in Alaska and the airline’s most northerly hub. Its other Alaskan hub is in Anchorage.
The new hub
This evening the first flight for the cargo giant will arrive in Fairbanks from Portland, Oregon. Using a Boeing 737, the flight will be operated by Sun Country Airlines on behalf of Amazon and will continue a daily service from now on. Amazon is also working with a logistics partner to handle the onsite sorting. Naniq Global Logistics will help manage the new hub sorting packages and ensuring operations run smoothly.
Sarah Rhoads, Vice President of Amazon Global Air, commented,
“The addition of this gateway in Fairbanks allows us to deliver items to our customers faster while gaining the ability to deliver to areas of Alaska that were not previously serviced by Amazon Air. Fairbanks International Airport, the city of Fairbanks, and Naniq Global Logistics, LLC, have been excellent partners through this process, and we’re looking forward to serving the people of Alaska more efficiently together.”
Amazon Air operates out of over 35 hubs and gateways across the US, meaning it can deliver packages to any location in any state in under two days. The new hub in Alaska will make remote destinations in the wilderness more accessible. The hub includes sorting facilities to package boxes for onward journeys and will employ around 50 local people to help keep it running.
The future of Amazon Air and Prime Air
The cargo airline’s expansion in Alaska is not a surprise. In 2020 the airline opened new operations across the US, including Hawaii, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Lakeland, and Austin. It is also branching out in Europe with new operations in Germany. Another central hub, which cost $1.5 billion, will open in Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky Internal Airport. All this means the airline will double its daily operations come springtime operating an average of 160 flights a day.
The new hubs and the airline’s growing fleet and network mean that soon, it could be a freight airline to rival DHL, UPS, and FedEx. Amazon’s European base in Germany is at the same airport as DHL’s European hub. A major difference between Amazon Air’s operations and other cargo companies is the newly renamed Prime Air which will use drones to deliver packages.
The new facilities across the US are designed to access remote locations, paired with drone technology, Amazon Air could pose a serious threat to other freight airlines. The Prime Air option allows warehouse-to-door delivery in 30 minutes. Perhaps Fairbanks will soon see drones flying over the Alaskan landscape.
What do you think of Amazon’s expanding cargo operations? Will it pose a threat to airlines like DHL and FedEx? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.