Amazon has been hinting at drone parcel delivery for a while now. And it seems, slowly but surely, to be inching toward reality.
Before drones, however, Amazon will add Prime Air branded jetliners to its arsenal of shipping logistics. The ecommerce titan this week unveiled its first branded cargo plane, which will grow into a fleet of 40 jetliners, forming Amazon’s own air transportation network. The goal, naturally, is to gain control of the company’s all-important delivery process.
The Prime Air plane was unveiled at the annual Seafair Air Show.
Amazon shipped an estimated one billion parcels last year. It will continue to use FedEx, UPS, and other delivery partners to ship goods—the Prime Air fleet is merely a supplementation at this point. Over time, Amazon hopes to increase its control over logistics, through aircraft, distribution centers, sorting plants, and fulfillment centers.
Last quarter Amazon’s net sales skyrocketed 31% to more than $30 billion, crushing Wall Street estimates. The company was boosted by its cloud computing division: Amazon Web Services posted $718 million in operating income, or 56 percent of the company’s overall operating income.