Amazon is set to launch a cargo fleet in India, as part of a drive to expand and gain more control over logistics in one of its fastest-growing regions.
The company will only employ Amazon’s recognisable Prime Air to deliver products, and each aircraft will display the well-known light blue “smile” insignia on the fuselage.
QuikJet, a Bengaluru-based cargo airline that is a joint venture between Cyrus Guzder of supply chain business AFL and Ireland-based ASL Aviation Group, is expected to begin its fleet by the end of this month. According to the people who are familiar with the matter, Amazon wants to have six Boeing 737-800 freighters in its fleet by the end of this year, up from the fleet’s first two, which can carry up to 23.9 tonnes of cargo.
Amazon responded press time Friday, January 20, to an email seeking comment. QuikJet couldn’t be reached for comment.
Amazon is beginning its specialised air cargo business for the first time outside of the US and Europe in India, enabling it to establish its own overnight delivery network in this country as well.
The Seattle-based business introduced Prime Air in the US in 2016 and runs out of airports near its storage facilities. There are 91 aircraft in the fleet worldwide, including tiny Boeing 737s, medium 767s, and ATRs. These are all rented from and run by third-party companies. The ASL group oversees Amazon’s air cargo activities across Europe.
QuikJet was launched by IL&FS, Tata Capital, and IDFC in 2007. However, due to the high price of oil, QuikJet had to halt operations in 2013. It was revived via a collaboration between Guzder and ASL last year.
“Having Amazon as a dedicated customer will make the QuikJet model successful this time as it will completely eliminate its dependence on freight forwarders and have certainty on revenue.”–A person aware of the matter said
According to a report by brokerage firm Bernstein, Amazon has a sizable base of “Prime” users in India, one of its key international markets. For Prime users, Amazon offers same-day or next-day deliveries.
According to those briefed on the strategy, the company believes that logistical growth is essential as it works to speed up delivery and make the process more efficient.
“While Amazon has been using the belly space of airlines like IndiGo, and SpiceJet, it felt that it needed more control over its air cargo network because the number of Prime customers has been growing significantly in India. A dedicated cargo airline gives the company control to move its objects from its warehouse to nearby smaller cities overnight.”–The person cited above said
He continued by saying that India would serve as a centre for other Southeast Asian nations.
According to a report from ET, the local shipping division of the US e-commerce behemoth, Amazon Transportation, which houses the logistics division, intends to expand its logistics infrastructure operations in India to accommodate purchases from other online retailers besides Amazon.
With the dedicated freighter fleet rising from just five aircraft before Covid to 28 aircraft at this time, Indian airlines are increasing their cargo capacity. In addition to Bluedart, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Air India Express, and others are seeking to add more cargo-carrying aircraft.