Amazon Air, better known under its brand Prime Air, is penetrating Europe by establishing a tightly knit network. This is done in close cooperation with Irish capacity provider ASL who operates the GECAS-leased freighters flying on behalf of the Amazon airline. Currently, Prime Air’s fleet is still rather small, consisting of 2 Boeing 737-800 P2F converted jetliners. However, more are to come.
One of the two aircraft is based at Cologne-Bonn Airport (CargoForwarder - 29OCT20), serving pan-European routes from there, while the second B737-800 freighter was officially welcomed in Leipzig
last Thursday (5NOV29). The former passenger plane is equipped with a reinforced floor, enabling the jetliner to accommodate 24 tons per flight or eleven 88” x 125” AAA full height containers or
pallets on its main deck, plus one AEP/AEH.
On the occasion of the arrival of the freighter in LEJ, Amazon manager Dietmar Jüngling awarded Leipzig the title of ‘first European Amazon air hub’, much applauded by local celebrities. In addition to flight activities to/from LEJ, a 20,000 m² sorting and distribution center was inaugurated on airport as part of Amazon’s fulfillment network in Europe.
LEJ has become a job generator
Jüngling left open which pan-European routes the LEJ-based B737-800 freighter will serve. He also did not say whether more planes would join the fleet and be based there. Through Amazon’s commitment, however, more than 200 jobs will be created on the site, adding to the 1,500 workplaces the e-tailer already offers in the Leipzig region. The former GM of the Amazon Fulfilment Center in Leipzig is now leading the team that is responsible for sorting, loading, and unloading parcels from road feeder trucks to the aircraft, and vice versa.
Jüngling’s words, particularly regarding the job issue, were music to the ears of Saxony State’s prime Minister Michael Kretschmer. The company’s investment “creates state-of-the-art jobs for a large number of skilled workers. I am sure that the Amazon Air regional hub will attract more innovative companies to the region to settle here. Companies and end customers benefit from strong, reliable supply chains. And how important these are has become particularly evident during the corona pandemic," the politician stated.
One of the rare 24/7/365 airports in Germany
Goetz Ahmelmann, CEO Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG, added to this that the airport’s management is delighted to have won another well-known logistics company for LEJ. “Leipzig/Halle is clearly a very special hub in European freight traffic for Amazon Air. We have scored points in Central Germany with our exceptionally good infrastructure and our recognized expertise in air freight. Leipzig/Halle is already number two in the German air freight business and number five in Europe,” he said in his speech. By volume, LEJ is already the second largest German freight airport, topped only by Frankfurt, and the fifth biggest in Europe.
Of particular interest to cargo carriers are the absence of night flight restrictions combined with high slot availability, the state-of-the-art ground infrastructure, and the large number of qualified employees. This attractive “package”, combined with state subsidies, motivated DHL in 2008 to establish its global hub in LEJ. Other freight carriers such as AeroLogic and CargoLogic Germany followed suit, upping traffic, and creating jobs which also resulted from the many feeder flights operated by DHL partner airlines.
Cologne is on Amazon’s radar, too
However, Leipzig does not seem to be the only hub Amazon is about to establish in Europe. Another hot candidate is Cologne/Bonn Airport, where a B737-800 P2F from Prime Air is already based since 26OCT20, operating daily flights to Milan and Madrid (CFG reported exclusively). Strangely enough, and in contrast to the LEJ spectacle, Amazon shied away from announcing the CGN services. Why this is so, remains a mystery.
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