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Amazon appears to have secretly expanded its air cargo operation in Europe, soon after reports emerged that the e-commerce giant is considering leasing 20 Boeing 767 jets to expand its delivery operation.
Amazon had approached several cargo aircraft leasers and held talks with Air Transport Service Group (ATSG), Atlas Air and Kalitta Air to try to reduce its dependency on carriers such as United Parcel Services and FedEx in the US.
Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird, who believes that Amazon could also start shipping for third parties as early as next year, said that "Amazon is pretty fed up with the third-party carriers being a bottleneck to their growth."
Amazon has been operating secret flights carrying packages in and out of the UK for past six weeks. Sometime in mid November the company chartered a Boeing 737 to fly within Poland, UK and Germany. So far the plane has made five trips a week, flying from Katowice in Poland to Luton, East Midlands and Doncaster airports and then back to Poland via Kassel in Germany.
Amazon has leased the plane from DB Schenker, the German logistics firm, and plans to extend further trails in Spain and Italy. Speaking to the Evening Standard about the plane charter in Europe an Amazon spokesperson said: "Within our European fulfilment network, we use various carriers with a range of transport methods for distributing and delivering items. This includes air."
The roundabout trips link Amazon's biggest distribution centres in Europe. For instance its two giant warehouses in Wroclaw are near the Katowice airport. Kassel airport is closer to Amazon's two centres in Bad Hersfeld in Germany. As for the UK, its biggest distribution centres are in Dunfermline and Swansea, and the ones closer to London are in Milton Keynes and Hemel Hempstead.