Hawaiian Airlines is the most recent passenger airline to fly for Amazon, and it has been contracted to fly the first Airbus freight planes in the e-commerce giant’s air network, which will help replace older jets. According to a filing by the airline, Hawaiian will begin operating at least 10 Airbus A330-300 freighters for Amazon in the fall of 2023. Following the announcement, Hawaiian share prices increased by as much as 13% in early trading.
In recent years, Amazon has grown its specialized air unit, whose operations are outsourced to a number of airlines, notably Atlas Worldwide Holdings and ATSG, which fly Boeing 767s for the firm, the aircraft with which Amazon started the air arm. The representative indicated that Amazon is currently determining which of the older jets would be phased out.
When travel demand fell early in the Covid pandemic in 2020, Sun Country, a leisure-focused airline, started flying converted Boeing 737 freighters for Amazon. During the pandemic, when consumer travel fell and port congestion drove up prices, air cargo was a hot area of aviation, but the industry has since cooled. Because of an increase in travel, more passenger belly plane capacity has entered the market, port congestion has decreased, and customer behavior has changed, lowering the cost of air cargo.
As part of the deal, Hawaiian will issue warrants to Amazon that are exercisable over the course of the following nine years and allow Amazon to purchase up to 15% of Hawaiian shares. With other air cargo companies ATSG and Atlas, Amazon has similar agreements.
Amazon Air has signed a firm agreement to lease ten A330-300P2F freighters from Altavair, taking advantage of the A330’s capacity and economics to help fulfill its one-day delivery promise to Amazon Prime customers. The aircraft will be operated for Amazon by Hawaiian Airlines, which has had A330s as a key element of its fleet since 2010. The ten airframes are being converted from passenger aircraft to freighters by Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW), the center of excellence for Airbus Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) conversions.
Hawaiian announced that in order to support its Amazon flights, it will establish a pilot base in the United States’ interior and hire extra pilots, mechanics, and dispatchers.
While both A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft are eligible for conversion, the longer-fuselage A330-300P2F is particularly suited for integrators and express carriers, due to its high volumetric payload capability with lower-density cargo.
The A330P2F conversion program, launched in 2012, is a collaboration between ST Aerospace, Airbus, and their joint venture EFW.