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November 5, 2020 1:30 PM, EST

Amazon Announces First Air Cargo Expansion Outside US

An Amazon Prime Air cargo jet sits at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Kentucky.An Amazon Prime Air cargo jet sits at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Ky. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News)

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Amazon.com Inc. is launching air cargo operations in Europe, the online retailer’s first such expansion outside of the U.S. as it looks to bring more freight operations in-house.

Amazon Air will run a 20,000-square-meter regional air hub at Leipzig/Halle airport in Germany, with two branded Boeing Co. 737-800 freighters flown by ASL Airlines, the company said in a statement. The facility will employ 200 people.

Operating its own aircraft will let the world’s largest e-commerce company offer “more flexible delivery options,” Amazon said. The company unveiled the air cargo service in 2016, reducing its reliance on UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp.

Seattle-based Amazon has been expanding its aviation logistics unit, taking advantage of a depressed market for aircraft during the pandemic. In June, it announced the leasing of an additional 12 converted Boeing 767-300 passenger planes from Air Transport Services Group Inc., adding to an existing fleet of 70 aircraft.

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