So, it might not exactly be Park and Rec's Amazon drones from the future, but you can call this a step toward that: a group called Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) has agreed to lease 20 Boeing 767s to Amazon, with the hopes that the Amazon company will begin shipping its own wares for more efficient delivery — and cut out a middle man entirely.
Amazon's move to do away with other services for cargo transport takes away the issue of funding that goes into utilizing third-party services like FedEx, the USPS and UPS, which, besides from its billions of dollars spent on shipping (a reported $8.7 billion in 2014 alone), as Tech Crunch pointed out, could also do away with shipment delays.
The project has been in the works for a while: Motherboard reported back in November 2015 that ATSG had leased out a few jets to an unnamed company — namely, that ATSG and Amazon had collaborated to run a "pilot program" from the ATSG headquarters in Wilmington, Ohio, to airports near Allentown, Tampa, Oakland and in Canada.
When Motherboard approached Amazon about its possible involvement, an Amazon rep gave what could only be described as an affirmative non-answer: "We've long utilized air capacity through a variety of great partners to transport packages and we expect that to continue."
Amazon also stated its intent for its self-sustaining cargo fleet in a 10-K form filed last year with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"We seek to mitigate costs of shipping over time in part through achieving higher sales volumes, optimizing placement of fulfillment centers, negotiating better terms with our suppliers, and achieving better operating efficiencies," Amazon stated. "We believe that offering low prices to our customers is fundamental to our future success, and one way we offer lower prices is through shipping offers."
As per custom, this year's SEC filing will also see further details about the current lease from ATSG.
This isn't the first self-sustaining shipment venture the company has in the works. As much as it's fun to joke about, Amazon is actually building fleets of carrier drones to deliver door to door, and has also leased a fleet of delivery trucks.
Photo: Torley | Flickr