Amazon Air will fly into Anchorage starting June 27. Online shoppers will find their Amazon Prime orders will be delivered a lot sooner — within two days perhaps, rather than two weeks.
Amazon currently uses UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, and Federal Express for Alaska orders. Those who order through Amazon Prime get free shipping in exchange for a membership fee ($119 a year), but usually the goods take the slow route and not all goods are eligible for Prime free delivery. Those companies will still deliver packages to your door, but Amazon is taking away some of their air freight business.
With Amazon flying in and out of Ted Stevens International Airport, this is a big change for consumers. Look for many more Alaskans to sign up for Amazon Prime membership and for more items to be made eligible for free shipping.
But this also represents a new challenge for retailers in the 49th state, especially those along the Railbelt. With an Amazon order just two days away, Alaskans can shop from their easy chairs with even greater confidence. And there are cost-savings considerations in having items delivered to your door, rather than traipsing about looking for a specific “thingy.”
WHAT’S IN IT FOR AMAZON?
For Amazon, Alaska is still a fragment of a market. With only 737,000 residents in the state, why would Amazon establish a freight flight of its own, bringing goods north to a state with a population of less than Columbus, Ohio? And if the freighters come north filled to the gills with boxes, what will they take south with them?
This is clearly a beachhead focused on bigger markets, an investment in the future. What the Seattle-based company realized is that Ted Stevens International Airport is just hours from Asia — a huge market, not only for things coming into the United States, but also a market for Amazon goods heading to the Orient and the billions of people living there.
Look for Amazon to lease space at the airport for a maintenance hangar, and possibly a logistics facility. UPS and FedEx built their multi-million dollar logistics centers years ago because of Anchorage’s advantages.
Amazon Air now has 50 planes and flies into more than 20 airports. The company has increased its delivery network with 185 fulfillment centers globally, and over 10,000 truck trailers.
At the International Paris Air Show, Amazon announced a partnership with GE Capital Aviation Services to lease an additional 15 Boeing 737-800 cargo aircraft. These will add to the five it already leased earlier this year.
Amazon will also open new air facilities this year at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, Wilmington Air Park (Ohio), and Chicago Rockford International Airport. The main Amazon Air Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport will open in 2021.
In Anchorage, Amazon Air will be using the Airport’s Kulis Business Park, south of the east-west runways, said Jim Szczesniak, Ted Stevens International Airport Manager.
“This is the second new airline we’ve welcomed to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport this quarter, and another business being added to the airport’s business park on the former Kulis Air National Guard Base,” he said on Facebook. “Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is perfectly situated to support the movement of e-commerce goods between Asia and North America, and this new business fits with our strategy of maximizing ANC’s potential for development.”
What do you think are the pros and cons of Amazon starting air freight service to Anchorage? Will it change your shopping habits? Leave your comments in the comment section below.