Monthly Prime and new airport – Amazon

Two Amazon stories have emerged today – one rumour and another announcement. Where US customers will now be able to pay a monthly fee for Prime in its push for new members, there are rumours that the online giant is going to buy a stake in a German airport.

Amazon has announced that new Prime members in the US can pay USD $8.99 a month for full Prime membership. Currently this is USD $99 a year but the smaller payments should draw in more customers. It has not been disclosed whether the scheme will be pushed out to the rest of the world yet but where something is successful in the US the rest of the world usually sees this soon after.

Local media report that Amazon may be interested in buying a stake in Frankfurt-Hahn airport. This would fit in with the fairly well proven rumours that the company has been testing a pan European internal air freight service.

The German airport has been having discussions with a number of bidders about selling off part of the airport. The local newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that Amazon is one of the companies that the airport authorities have been having talks with. As with all deals that have not been sealed, Amazon has not confirmed or denied this.

Frankfurt Hahn is about 100km from Koblenz where Amazon has a large fulfilment centre. The online giant has recently leased 20 freight aircraft from Air Transport Services Group in the US and has also been ramping up its intermodal capabilities.

There are signs that Amazon is taking much of its delivery services in-house and this is of sufficient threat to many delivery companies that their shares have fallen in value. Amazon however tends to keep quiet about its activities until they are worthy of an announcement as happened with the monthly Prime offer in the US.

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