The airline trade could also be reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, however Amazon’s air cargo enterprise has quickly accelerated in latest months.

Between Might and July, Amazon added 9 planes to its Amazon Air fleet, “probably the most it has added over a three-month span since its inception,” stated the report issued Thursday by DePaul College’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Improvement. 

“Amazon Air expanded quickly throughout summer season 2020, a interval in any other case marked by sharp year-over-year declines in air-cargo site visitors,” the report states. 

Amazon Air now contains about 70 planes and the fleet is anticipated to develop to greater than 80 by 2021, Amazon stated in June. That is up from the 50 planes it counted in February 2019.

Amazon’s air fleet, launched in 2016, is a important a part of its push to offer one- and two-day supply. The corporate nonetheless depends on exterior carriers for a big share of its deliveries, nevertheless it has progressively moved extra of its logistics operations in-house, permitting it to higher management prices and supply speeds. Analysts consider Amazon’s air fleet, mixed with its huge community of airplanes, truck trailers and vans, might in the future place it to rival UPS and FedEx.

The coronavirus pandemic has generated much more stress on Amazon to make sure quick supply, because it noticed a surge in on-line orders from stuck-at-home consumers who turned to the corporate for important items and groceries, together with different merchandise like workplace provides and electronics. 

Whereas its fleet has grown since Might, Amazon Air nonetheless stays smaller than its rivals, together with FedEx, which operates 463 planes, UPS’ fleet of 275 planes and DHL’s 77 planes, DePaul researchers stated in a separate report printed in Might. 

Amazon’s $1.5 billion air hub in Northern Kentucky might assist give it an edge, the report stated. The hub, scheduled to open in 2021, is designed to have capability for 100 Amazon-branded planes and deal with an estimated 200 flights per day.

“The large funding being made in a big hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Worldwide Airport, nevertheless, might change every thing,” the report stated. “This hub seems to be the lynchpin to Amazon’s efforts to develop a complete array of home supply companies throughout america.”