Amazon unveils its first dedicated delivery aircraft
Ecommerce giant Amazon has unveiled Amazon One, the first in a planned fleet of 40 aircraft, to create a dedicated air delivery network. The news comes just a week after it was revealed that Amazon had struck a deal with the UK government to begin testing drone deliveries.
The Boeing 767 is emblazoned with Amazon's Prime logo and its name is a play on Airforce One, the name of the US presidential plane. Its numberplate N1997A is also a prime number.
Amazon is leasing the aircraft, which are being operated on its behalf by Atlas Air. It is being shown today at Seafair, a show in Amazon's home town of Seattle.
The move to a dedicated airline fleet is just one in a series of initiatives introduced by Amazon to speed up delivery of its goods. In the US it has introduced a fleet of trucks with trailers and recently unveiled the "Flex" service, which is effectively an Uber-style service allowing people with their own vehicles to deliver on the etailer's behalf. Potential Flex participants can sign up online and are vetted before being admitted to the scheme.
As a result of these initiatives most Amazon deliveries will arrive within one day, if the customer is willing to pay the delivery premium. In London the fastest parcel delivery has been 16 minutes from the customer clicking to purchase and the parcel arriving at their door.
Drones are expected to be the next great breakthrough in delivery services and Amazon has received permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to test its Prime Air drones which can travel distances of up to 10 miles and carry parcels weighing up to 2.3kgs; this weight limit is sufficient for around 90% of orders placed on the site.
Rival Google has also signed a deal with the US government to begin testing of its Project Wing delivery drones.