Amazon Showing Off Its First Branded Freight Plane

Image courtesy of Amazon

It’s not enough for Amazon to sell folks anything from tablets to kitty litter, streaming video to bendy straws — it wants to be in control of its own shipping, too. To show off what the latest step in that plan looks like, Amazon is unveiling its first freight plane, emblazoned with the company logo on the side so no one can mistake who’s in charge.

Amazon announced earlier this year that it’d be leasing a fleet of 40 planes from two different aircraft leasing companies, Atlas Air, and Air Transport Service Group, and now everyone knows what they’ll look like: the company unveiled its “Prime Air” branded Boeing 767 that’s been converted into a freighter by Atlas. It’s called “Amazon One,” and bears the number N1997A on its tail — the year the company went public, and a prime number for its Prime customers.

With these planes, Amazon will have enough shipping capacity during the busy times like the holidays, and flexibility at other times, Amazon’s senior vice president of operations Dave Clark told Recode in an interview.

“You can almost think about the difference between commercial flight and private flight,” Clark said. “We have the ability, with our own planes, to create connections between one point and another point that are exactly tailored to our needs, and exactly tailored to the timing of when we want to put packages on those routes — versus other peoples’ networks which are optimized to run their entire network. We add capacity, we add flexibility and it gives us cost-control capability as well.”

Though there’s been some talk that maybe Amazon’s big push into the air cargo business could mean it wants to take on FedEx and USPS and ship packages for other companies, Clark says that’s not the case… at least, at the moment.

“Right now, everything going on those planes is inventory held in Amazon fulfillment centers and sold on the Amazon website,” he told the Seattle Times. “And we have more than enough package supply to utilize the 40 planes we’ve procured.”

Prime One will take to the skies over Seattle today during the city’s annual Seafair Air Show today to show off the new branding, but there are a total of 11 dedicated Amazon planes flying for the company as of today, with more planes rolling out over time.

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