Amazon Prime aircraft are a familiar sight in the United States, shipping deliveries from the e-commerce giant around the country. But their planes are not so familiar elsewhere. However, that could soon change. It appears Amazon may be gearing up to operate their own planes in Australia. If correct, it would coincide with a substantial ramping of Amazon infrastructure in the country.
Is Amazon behind Brisbane’s mystery start-up airline?
Last week, Simple Flying reported on an unknown Brisbane-based start-up airline running job applications for key roles. We approached several people who might know for clarification but hit a wall of silence. Brisbane Airport told us they were as much in the dark as we were.
But, we’ve since learned Amazon could be behind this new start-up airline. Simple Flying approached Amazon’s Australian representatives. They said they don’t comment on plans or speculation. Amazon’s United States media representatives have not responded to requests for comment.
However, sources say Amazon is behind this proposed start-up airline. It is unconfirmed, but it does fit. It is not known whether the new airline would operate as Amazon Prime. However, here’s why the rumor makes sense.
Amazon’s focus on its own aircraft
Earlier this year, Air Cargo World flagged Amazon’s expansion of its air cargo operations. At the time, Amazon was running job advertisements in the United States, looking for key personnel to help grow a “disruptive” startup cargo airline.
Amazon has been using its own dry leased aircraft flying under the Amazon Prime brand as well as contracting out to other carriers (primarily Atlas Air and Air Transport Services Group) to ship its deliveries. Amazon Prime currently has 50 aircraft in its fleet, a combination of Boeing 737 and 767 aircraft. Unlike passenger airlines, these planes stay busy and are all flying.
As Amazon began to market its Prime subscription service more profoundly, the e-commerce retailer has started to rely more on its own aircraft to meet the shorter delivery deadlines built into the subscription service.
Amazon builds up its infrastructure and presence in Australia
In recent years, Australia is just one of several countries where Amazon has launched its Prime subscription product. Amazon launched a local offering in Australia in 2017. At the same time, it opened its first Australian fulfillment center outside Melbourne. It has since opened additional centers in Sydney and Perth. In June, Amazon announced it would open a fulfillment center in Brisbane.
“Brisbane is a key strategic location to meet increasing customer demand in Queensland and we’re pleased that this significant investment will create job opportunities to support the local economy, benefit customers, and local small to medium-sized businesses who will be able to access Amazon’s logistics capabilities to reach customers across the country,” an Amazon Australia spokesperson told ZDNet.
To date, Amazon has been contracting out its delivery services in Australia. But if what Simple Flying has been told is correct (and a lot of indicators suggest that it is), Amazon could soon be operating its own planes in and around Australia as early as 2021.
Why Amazon in Brisbane makes sense
The advertisements on Australian employment websites last week sought a chief pilot and a head of air worthiness and maintenance control. The advertisements referenced a start-up that will use either Boeing 767 or 757aircraft. The advertising also referred to international flying, suggesting overnight deliveries to nearby countries like New Zealand.
Brisbane is a handy airport for access around Australia and the southwest Pacific region. Unlike Sydney Airport, there is no curfew. There is also ample space at the airport and excellent infrastructure. Amazon’s arrival at Brisbane Airport would add to the airport’s growing role as an aviation logistics hub.
While there are a lot of indicators to suggest Amazon is behind this proposed start-up airline in Brisbane, Simple Flying stresses Amazon has not confirmed it. Nonetheless, it is an interesting scenario and represents a significant threat to local carriers now doing good business shipping Amazon parcels around the region.
What are your thoughts about this? Let us know in the comment section.