Amazon Steps Up Its Air Delivery Game

March 19, 2016, 12:03 AM UTC
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Photograph by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez — Getty Images

Amazon is doing more than just leasing cargo planes to handle its own shipping.

The online retail giant now owns 10% of plane leasing company Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), according to a regulatory filing on Friday.

Last week, Amazon said it would lease 20 Boeing 767 planes from ATSG to deliver more of its customers’ orders. As a major shareholder in ATSG, Amazon will now have a greater influence on that company’s operations and potentially learn more about the air shipping business.

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The move is just one more way in which Amazon is scaling back its dependence on traditional shippers like the UPS (UPS) and FedEx (FDX). Analysts speculate that Amazon wants to create its own rival global shipping service, although the company has denied any such ambitions.

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And Amazon’s shipping plans may extend beyond air cargo. In January, Amazon’s China subsidiary received an ocean-shipping license from the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission that lets it operate as an ocean freight forwarder.

During Amazon’s latest earnings call, CFO Brian Olsavsky said that the company applied for the shipping license to add “more logistics to supplement existing shipping options, and it’s not meant to replace them.”

Shares of ATSG (ATSG) fell 2.13% to $14.25 in after-hours trading on Friday while Amazon’s shares (BA) rose less than 1% to $552.60.

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