Amazon secret European air cargo flights?

More evidence is emerging that Amazon is planning to run a global air freight service, cutting out international air freight companies such as UPS, DHL and FedEx/TNT. The Evening Standard has reported that the online giant has been secretly running flights between airports near its biggest warehouses in Europe, to include Luton (for Milton Keynes and Hemel Hempstead), Katowice in Poland (for Wroclaw) and Kassel near its two German fulfilment centres in Bad Hersfield.

It has been confirmed that Amazon has chartered the jet that makes five flights a week from logistics company DB Schenker and is understood to be extending its pilot scheme to Spain and Italy. It is believed that as well as Luton, Amazon has been flying to East Midlands Airport and Doncaster.

The online giant has already been flying goods around the US on a project apparently codenamed Aerosmith, and has based its secret operation in Wilmington Ohio. The company is reportedly looking to charter 20, Boeing 767 jets for flights around the US. Where this in itself would be a blow to the air freight carriers in the US, news that it is operating around Europe could signal the loss of one of their biggest single clients for international air freight.

Amazon has recently been focusing on building its last mile delivery network in the UK and US, with a recent announcement it will be doing the same in Germany. Given its moves to take over the last mile phase, it isn’t very surprising that the company is moving many of its logistics operations in-house as well. It is known to be hiring a fleet of HGVs in the US as well for road transport of lower value goods.

Given that the company hasn’t a 100% reach in the UK, this won’t signal the end of Amazon as a customer to the big three air carriers, but they will see a significant drop in business in the coming year or so.