Amazon is expanding its Prime Air fleet of cargo planes to 50 jets over the next two years. The expansion is made possible by a batch of Boeing 767s that are being retired from American Airlines’ fleet. The airliner will be replacing its jets with the Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the result being a total of twenty 767s passenger jets arriving on the used market for conversion into cargo freighters.
Earlier this month, The Seattle Times reported that American Airlines would retire 20 planes, which would be acquired over the next three years by Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), the company that supplies Amazon with the 767 planes it uses for its Prime Air fleet. Now, just days later, a new report claims that Amazon will be leasing 10 of those retired jets.
Amazon’s cargo planes are used to transport its products through more than 20 airports. The fleet will play an increasingly important role for Amazon, which previously revealed plans to open multiple hubs next year, including one at the Fort Worth Alliance Airport and another in Ohio.
Demand for used Boeing freighter jets is greater than the number of available used planes, leaving companies scrambling for a limited number of leasing options. It’s unclear where the remaining 10 used 767s will end up, though a past report indicated that ATSG may end up using them for its own charter service.
Earlier this year, ATSG acquired nine converted 767s for lease, and it plans to deploy another five some time next year. By the end of 2021, according to the Times, ATSG will have 59 jets.