Source: Adapted from Rodrigue, J-P (2020) “The Distribution Network of Amazon: Analyzing the Footprint of Freight Digitalization”, Journal of Transport Geography, Vol. 88.
Amazon Air operated by early 2020 a fleet of 42 leased aircraft, the majority being 767s. Amazon Air relies less on the hub-and-spoke structure than major air freight operators since the purpose of its services is to support purchases made on Amazon’s digital platform. As of mid-2020, 29 airports were serviced, and Amazon operated directly six air hubs. A significant factor in airport choice for a hub is proximity to distribution facilities. Smaller airports at a distance from major metropolitan areas tend to be preferred. From these airports, parcels are brought by truck to regional sortation centers or local delivery stations. Thirty-two e-fulfillment centers (17%) and eight sortation centers (17%) are within 10 km from an airport serviced by Amazon Air, underlining a close integration between air distribution and fulfillment capabilities. The development of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) hub, expected to act as the primary nexus, is indicative that Amazon Air is seeking to replicate a hub-and-spoke structure that competes more directly with FedEx and UPS. This 3.4 million square foot facility is expected to come online in 2021 and will act as the major anchor to Amazon’s air network.