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Amazon signs 20-aircraft lease deal with ATSG

Cargo carrier Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) has reached an agreement to operate 20 Boeing 767 freighters for online retailer Amazon.com, a move that expands Amazon’s reach into the package delivery business.

The deal, announced 9 March by Wilmington, Ohio-based ATSG, also gives Amazon.com the option to purchase up to 19.9% of ATSG’s shares over a five year period, ATSG says.

The aircraft will be leased to Amazon.com’s Fulfillment Services division and operated by ATSG subsidiaries ABX Air and Air Transport International (ATI), ATSG says.

ABX operates 19 767-200Fs and eight 767-300ERFs, while ATI’s fleet includes two 767-200Fs, according to Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer database.

The deal calls for the aircraft to be leased for between five to seven years and to be operated by ATSG for five years, ATSG says.

“We are excited to supplement out existing delivery network... by adding 20 planes to ensure air cargo capacity to support one- and two-day delivery,” says Amazon’s senior vice-president of worldwide operations and customer service Dave Clark in ATSG’s release.

Amazon.com did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

The news follows reports from December 2015 that Amazon.com had already established a trial operation using aircraft operated by ATSG.

Amazon.com had also reportedly been in discussions with other air cargo companies, including Atlas Air and Kalitta Air.

Setting up its own air cargo operation would enable Amazon.com to reduce reliance on package delivery companies like UPS and FedEx.

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