Amazon announced that it had purchased four of WestJet’s 767-300ERs for shipping operations. The planes left WestJet’s fleet in March 2020 and are currently undergoing conversion to freighter aircraft. Amazon also bought seven 767-300ERs from Delta as it looks to expand its fleet.
We’ve previously covered Amazon’s growing 767 fleet, including purchases from Delta and WestJet. However, this week showed us the scale of Amazon’s plans for global shipping over the next two years. The Seattle-based online giant will add 11 widebodies to its fleet in the next two years, with four coming this year and seven in 2022.
These purchases are also notable since Amazon is buying the planes outright instead of leasing them. The decision to buy so many planes signals a long-term commitment towards building a reliable fleet for shipping. In a report from Street Insider, Vice President of Amazon Global Air Sarah Rhoads said,
“Our goal is to continue delivering for customers across the U.S. in the way that they expect from Amazon, and purchasing our own aircraft is a natural next step toward that goal….Having a mix of both leased and owned aircraft in our growing fleet allows us to better manage our operations, which in turn helps us to keep pace in meeting our customer promises”
Amazon’s purchase comes at a strategic time, as passenger airlines continue to struggle but cargo demand surges globally. As most of the world stays at home, the demand for online shopping and fast shipping has surged, significantly boosting companies like Amazon, whose stock price is up nearly 70%.
Amazon reportedly purchased the four 767-300ERs from WestJet last March, just as the pandemic shut down travel globally. According to Planespotters.net, these four aircraft were registered C-FOGT, C-FOGJ, C-FWAD, and C-GOGN. While they were only at WestJet for five years (where they had a transformative impact), the planes are all over 26 years old.
The planes are currently at Mexico City Airport undergoing conversion to freighter aircraft and will come into service this year.
Amazon also picked up all seven 767s that were retired by Delta in 2020. These aircraft are all roughly 20 years old and five were retired in early 2020 due to the pandemic. They will now undergo conversion now and enter service in 2022.
The addition of 11 aircraft will take Amazon’s 767 fleet from 44 to 55 aircraft in the coming year, a 25% increase. We may see more purchases from the online giant in the coming years as more airlines retire their older aircraft models.
While old planes do not make sense for passenger airlines, cargo airlines tend to have much older fleets (Amazon’s fleet of 737s and 767s averages 24 years). This explains why Amazon is looking to buy second-hand planes over signing multi-billion orders.
What do you think about Amazon’s purchase? Let us know in the comments!