Amazon may be behind a secretive air cargo operation that launched earlier this year, according to a new report from Motherboard. This past September, the aviation holdings company Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) began shipping consumer goods out of a facility in Wilmington, Ohio for an unnamed client. The operation is known as "Aerosmith" and Amazon is likely the mysterious client that runs it.
Wilmington Air Park is a non-passenger airport that has been air-shipping cargo for various clients for decades. DHL ran operations there from 2003 to 2008, but after its departure, the facilities went largely unused. The airport has two large runways and eight industrial facilities for sorting and shipping.
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As Motherboard notes, Amazon has recently been searching for more effective ways to get its products to consumers, from creating a drone superhighway to opening physical stores. Having its own air cargo operation would allow Amazon to ship without the hassle of a middleman like UPS, which has previously been blamed for Amazon's delivery delays.
Since September, the company behind Aerosmith has contracted four Boeing 767s that together make a total of four flights per day. Motherboard has confirmed the planes fly from Wilmington to four other airports: Allentown, PA (ABE), Ontario, CA (ONT), Tampa, FL (TPA) and Oakland, CA (OAK). Amazon has distribution centers within fewer than 60 miles of each airport.
Amazon could ship without the hassle of a middleman
Motherboard spoke to representatives at the various airports, who described the cargo coming in as "general consumer goods." FedEx, UPS, and DHL all confirmed to Motherboard they were not the companies behind Aerosmith. And a post on a piloting forum this past October claimed to have insider knowledge that Amazon was working on an overnight parcel delivery service, Motherboard reports.
The rumor has not yet been confirmed by Amazon.