Online retailer Amazon has long been working on taking shipping into its own hands so that the company can end its dependence on third party shipping companies such as UPS. The latest rumored shipping venture by Amazon is believed to be an air cargo program that has been operating in Wilmington, OH on a trial basis. The venture is being called Aerosmith.
The Aerosmith program has been shipping goods for an unnamed vendor, who many suspect is Amazon. The operation works out of the Wilmington Airpark, which is a non-passenger airport facility that includes capabilities for sorting goods and packing cargo. The airport features two runways that can support Boeing 747 airplanes, and it also includes eight industrial facilities and more than 100,000 square feet of office space.
Earlier this year in September, an unnamed company started conducting shipping operations at the facility. Many suspect that this company is Amazon, and that they are using the facility to plan for their own shipping company which would work in conjunction with their online shopping platform.
The air freight transportation operation conducts four different flights per day. The flights travel to and from the airports of Allentown, PA, Ontario, Canada, Tampa, FL and Oakland, CA. Amazon maintains distribution centers just 20 miles from the airports in Allentown and Ontario and within 60 miles of the airports in Tampa and Oakland.
The operation is being supported by the Air Transport Security Group. ATSG officials would not confirm that Amazon is supporting the operation. It is also unknown if the mystery company plans to use the facility for long term purposes. The airports involved also declined to comment on the situation.
Representative of the ATSG, Paul Cunningham, said, “It is general consumer goods I can’t be specific. We just receive the freight, load it on and move it. It’s not something that it’s obvious what it is.”
Meanwhile, shipping companies FedEx, UPS and DHL have all stated that they are not involved in the Aerosmith project. Amazon did not outright deny its involvement in the operation, but the company would not confirm the rumor either.
In the past, Amazon has said that it would launch its own shipping infrastructure in 2016. The company eventually hopes to guarantee a delivery window between 90 minutes and two hours. Amazon has already spoken of its ambitions to use drones to deliver packages, but this plan has been largely slowed down by FAA regulations.
In 2014, Amazon spent $4.2 billion on shipping costs, up from $3.5 billion in 2013.