MIAMI – Amazon Air (MZN) announced the opening of its third gateway today at Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Fairbanks International will now be Amazon’s second cargo terminal in Alaska after Anchorage and its most northern gateway in the world. The airport is a state-owned public-use airport located three miles southwest of the central business district of Fairbanks

According to a company press release, the first flight to FAI is on an MZN Boeing 737 cargo aircraft operated by Sun Country Airlines (SY), which will arrive this evening from Portland International Airport (PDX). The service will continue daily.

Fairbanks International Airport. Photo: RadioKAOS, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Comments from Fairbanks International Airport

Angie Spear, Fairbanks International Airport Manager, added, “We’ve been looking forward to welcoming Amazon Air at their new gateway at Fairbanks International Airport. This new location will expand Amazon’s presence, not only in Fairbanks but in some of the most rural areas in the region.”

Spear also stated that throughout the last year, Amazon has focused on getting necessary items to customers quickly and efficiently, adding that FAI is “honored to be a part of those efforts here in our backyard.”

Amazon’s new gateway will include an onsite area to sort packages bound for their next destination. The facility will be managed by Naniq Global Logistics, LLC which is an Amazon logistics partner. The facility operations will create more than 50 new jobs in the Fairbanks community.

Amazon Prime Air N5209A Boeing 737-83N(BCF)(WL). Photo: Nick Sheeder/Airways

About Amazon Air

Amazon Air’s fleet consists of 74 aircraft made up of 52 767-300 BCFs which 21 are operated by Air Transport International (8C) and 19 by Atlas Air (5Y), with an additional 11 Boeing 767 on order.

The remaining 22 aircraft are Boeing 737-800BCF which are operated by Sun Country Airlines (SY) with 12, Southern Air (9S) with eight, and ASL Airlines Ireland (AG) with two along with an additional Boeing 737 on order.

As of March 2021, Amazon’s fleet averages over 24 years, one of the oldest amongst major competitors including Lufthansa Cargo’s (LH) fleet, which is less than 11 years old, and UPS Airlines’ (5X) fleet, which is less than 20 years old. 

The airline’s oldest plane a Boeing 767-300BCF (N397AZ) is currently 32.9 years old and was originally delivered to American Airlines (AA) in April of 1988 and remained in service with them until October of 2016.

Until January 2021, the airline had relied on wet-leasing its aircraft from other operators; however, going forward, MZN is looking to directly operate some aircraft. In January, Amazon bought its first fleet of planes to grow its air freight network.

With the purchase, the eCommerce giant is poised to become a credible competitor in logistics. MZN has more than 70 branded aircraft in its active fleet.

AMAZON AIR N491AZ BOEING 767-300(ER)(BDSF)(WL). Photo: Brad Tisdel/Airways

New Operations

Amazon Air started operation at a variety of airports in 2020, including two more in Hawaii, as well as New Orleans, Austin, Lakeland, and Leipzig, Germany. Smaller airports with point-to-point service are known as gateway airports.

The company’s European regional air hub is located at Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ) in central Germany. LEJ is also home to DHL’s main European operation.

In addition, this fall, MZN will launch its US$1.5bn central air hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). Furthermore, the company purchased a minority stake in Air Transport Services Group, a Wilmington, Ohio-based air transport company, last week.

With the help of its new gateway, 2021 will see Amazon’s freighter operation climb to about 160 flights a day by late spring, almost double where it was last May.

Featured image: AMAZON AIR N311AZ BOEING 767-338(ER) (BDSF). Photo: Miles Aronovitz-Airways