Amazon Air, Amazon’s cargo airline arm, is set for more expansions in the spring and to double in size by June, according to a study by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development.
The airline currently has 10 planes registered for it that aren’t presently flying, some of which need to be converted to freighters, the study found. There are also four more slated to join the fleet soon.
The study stated that Amazon Air will see its number of flights grow to over 160 by June, which would represent a doubling since May of last year.
In addition, the growth will be undergirded with the acquisition of 11 Boeing 767 passenger models from Delta Air Lines and WestJet, although some of these planes won’t join the fleet until 2022, the study found.
The acquired planes, consisting of seven from Delta and four from WestJet, will be owned outright by the carrier instead of leased, and will reportedly be operated by the contractors, according to the study.
All of them require modifications or have already been converted for freighter service, the study found. That process usually takes months, and it’s being done in Mexico City, Mexico, and Tel Aviv, Israel.
The study noted that it’s difficult to get an accurate read on the size of Amazon Air’s fleet because of the lack of disclosures from the company, and some analysts have noted that there’s a large amount of cargo moving on planes not registered to Amazon Air, specifically with routes going outside the U.S. The company has said it had 81 planes total.
According to the study, between early September 2020 and February 2021, Amazon Air expanded its in-service fleet of registered planes from 52 to 59, a 13.5 percent increase, and the total fleet of registered planes from 56 to 68, a 21.4 percent increase.
The study found around seven or eight registered planes are likely to begin service soon as well.
In other Amazon news, the first of the company’s electric vehicles were rolled out, which marked another point along the company’s goals to become net carbon zero by 2040. The new vehicles were specifically ordered as part of Amazon’s Climate Pledge.