Amazon will buy 11 Boeing 767-300 jets from WestJet and Delta at a discount. Amazon is the latest company to take advantage of airlines seeking to reduce their fleets as travel demand continues at a low owing to the coronavirus.
Amazon confirmed the plan Wednesday and said the acquisition will expand its air cargo capacity. The company said it is pushing to enhance delivery times to keep up with online demand from stuck-at-home shoppers.
The company will be buying four jets from WestJet and seven from Delta. The planes will be converted into cargo jets this year and next.
Delta and WestJet declined to disclose the purchase price.
According to aviation consulting company Ascend by Cirium, current prices have dropped by about 15% compared with prices in December. The consultancy said each of the planes may have been sold at around $14 million.
The purchase is Amazon's first outright purchase of aircraft. The company's current fleet is leased.
"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 with meeting our customer promises," the company's vice president of Amazon Global Air, Sarah Rhoads, said in a statement.
Amazon said it planned to have more than 85 planes by the end of 2022. Amazon established its in-house air freight cargo service in 2016. This reduced its dependence on third-party cargo companies such as FedEx and UPS.
It still utilizes outside carriers for a portion of its deliveries.
Amazon is expected to officially open its new $1.5 billion air hub in Kentucky. It can house more than 100 Amazon-branded planes and up to 200 flights a day.