Amazon looks to be quietly testing own air cargo ops from Wilmington

Tests are said to have been underway since September and code-named ‘Aerosmith’, operated by Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) using four leased B767Fs.

ABX Air Transport Services Group Amazon ATSG

E-commerce giant Amazon looks to be taking steps to operate its own air freight service to compete with the likes of FedEx and UPS, with tests taking place out of DHL’s former US hub in Wilmington, Ohio. The aim would be to improve efficiency and cut its US$4.2 billion (2014) net shipping costs.

A posting on Airline Pilot Forums in late October by an individual claiming to be a pilot said that two B767s were in operation for Amazon. Various media reports have suggested the tests, said to be code-named ‘Aerosmith’, were launched in September on a trial basis and operated by Air Transport Services Group (ATSG). The nameless company has leased two B767Fs from ABX and two more from Air Transport International, technology news website Motherboard reported, citing confirmation from Paul Cunningham, a spokesperson for ATSG.

Cunningham told Motherboard that the company is in “a test period” with a new customer that involves four flights per day out of Wilmington. “We can’t comment on our operations or customers,” Cunningham said, citing a non-disclosure agreement with the unnamed customer.

The hub-and-spoke operation is based out of Wilmington (ILN) with flights to and from four other confirmed airports: Allentown, PA (ABE), Ontario, CA (ONT), Tampa (TPA) and Oakland (OAK). Amazon has distribution centres about 32km from ABE and ONT and within 97km of TPA and OAK.