Amazon is now making an average of 164 flights every day in order to transport its stock across the US, as it positions itself to take on third-party deliveries.
According to a recent report, published by the Financial Times, Amazon has been significantly expanding its air cargo operations with a view to taking on delivery giants USP and FedEx in delivering parcels for other companies, not just its own sellers.
Around 70 per cent of Americans now live within 100 miles of an airport where Amazon Air operates, marking an increase of 54 per cent year-on-year.
While its 73-strong fleet is still considerably outmatched by its rivals, it has signed numerous deals over the past 18 months to lease dozens of cargo planes and added seven new airports to its roster since February.
“There is no sign of Amazon slowing down their gearing up for expanded next-day delivery,” Professor Joseph Schwieterman of the Chaddick Institute at DePaul University said.
“There’s demand, by lots of businesses, to have more than two options for package delivery, with the US Postal Service seeming to be receding in the past few years.”
Schwieterman added that this could well “change the landscape of a sector long dominated by FedEx and UPS”.
The rapid expansion of Amazon’s air fleet has complicated its plans to be carbon neutral by 2040, with much of its current fleet made up of older aircraft.
Last year it announced plans to purchase 6 million gallons of biolfuel which would reportedly reduce emissions by 20 per cent.
Amazon has previously stated that it plans to operate 85 cargo planes by the end of 2022.