On September 15th a picture emerged of Prime’s new ATR freighter. The story has stayed under the radar so far, especially since the key players have been keeping things under wraps.
The pictured aircraft is a 2009 vintage ATR72-500, previously operated by Aurigny (retired 2020) and registered by Amazon on July 8th. It was ferried from Toulouse to Coeur d’Alene for conversion. This aircraft will be operated by Silver Airways for Amazon. Hence the picture being taken in Florida.
Why is this news? For a start, Amazon is a growing carrier and what they do is very relevant. Then consider the picture and story that emerged before ATR or Amazon had a chance to make any announcements. The Coeur d’Alene facility managed to keep pictures out of the social media arena.
Neither ATR nor Amazon can be thrilled about the leak getting ahead of their own announcements. It’s been reported that a total of three ATR aircraft are registered to Amazon Air. In addition to the first painted aircraft, one (N929AZ) was previously operated by Air Corsica and acquired by ACIA Aero Leasing thereafter (Yes, them again). The other aircraft (N937AZ) was previously operated by Air Caraïbes.
It appears there may be a deeper story to be uncovered.
- Is there a broader deal already (i.e. Amazon doesn’t just want three ATRs) in the works and who are the key players?
- How has ATR managed to maneuver into this position when OEMs and lessors are looking for alternative applications to boost aircraft sales?
Having won Amazon as a customer is no small feat, and especially as we’re seeing continued activity in the freighter conversion space. We expect more news to emerge in the coming weeks and, perhaps, this will identify any new players.