As a part of the deal, Amazon will be able to lease 20 Boeing 767 freighter aircraft from ATSG, but what exactly will the e-commerce giant do with these 20 planes?
According to an Amazon spokesperson, "the planes provide critical capacity expansion to support the growth of Prime in the U.S. Planes provide an additional dedicated transportation method connecting Earth's largest selection to customers from coast to coast. At our scale, supporting growth requires adding some of our own logistics capabilities."
But logistics expert Marc Wulfraat, founder and president of MWPVL, a supply chain logistics consultant, is reading between the lines and thinks that these planes are a step towards Amazon's larger strategy for delivery -- and not surprisingly, it's a bold one.
During a conference call with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Wulfraat explained how the planes will allow Amazon to create a "hub-and-spoke" model for delivery in which it can fly inventory from fulfillment centers to one central location and have the planes transport products to other fulfillment centers from the central location. So for example, if a customer in Los Angeles orders a book from Cleveland, the book will be flown from Cleveland to Wilmington and then from Wilmington to Los Angeles, along with everything else Los Angeles customers ordered from fulfillment centers around the country.
Eventually, this could lead to the possibility of two-day delivery for every product Amazon sells regardless of where it's stocked, according to Wulfraat. And there are international implications as well.