Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has transferred flying responsibility for two leased Boeing 767-300 freighters from Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: AAWW) to Air Transport International, a charter airline owned by Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), Amazon and ATSG officials confirmed.
Both companies lease and operate planes on behalf of the Amazon Air network, which the e-commerce giant launched in recent years to better meet one- and two-day delivery commitments for Prime members.
"We are constantly innovating on behalf of our customers, and from time to time that means making adjustments to our air network. Two aircraft previously assigned to Atlas will now be operated by another carrier," Amazon spokeswoman Rena Lunak said in an email.
ATSG spokesman Paul Cunningham confirmed in an email that ATI is getting the new business. ATSG carriers ATI and ABX Air operate more than 20 767 all-cargo planes for Amazon Air.
Industry newsletter Cargo Facts first reported the news of Amazon's change in operators. It said Atlas' leasing arm will continue to lease 19 planes to Amazon.
It's unclear what prompted the change, but Amazon could be hedging its risk of any operational slowdown by Atlas Air pilots ahead of the peak holiday season. Pilots at both carriers are embroiled in tense labor negotiations, but the Atlas process is closer to the point where pilots can legally strike. Atlas Air has already experienced pilot attrition and work slowdowns that impacted its second-quarter earnings, as previously reported here.
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