Amazon on Wednesday opened its $1.5 billion air hub in northern Kentucky, which will help accelerate its push for faster delivery and greater control over its logistics network. Amazon Air operates out of more than 40 airports across the U.S., but the terminal at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport will serve as the central nerve of its nationwide cargo network.
Amazon founder and executive chairman Jeff Bezos, then CEO, broke ground on the project in 2019 by hopping into a John Deere front loader to “move some earth.”
At the time, Bezos remarked: “This hub is going to let us get packages to customers faster. That’s a big deal.” A report issued last fall by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development described the hub as the “lynchpin to Amazon’s efforts to develop a comprehensive array of domestic delivery services across the United States.”
“Right now, we’re focused on our customers for sure,” Rhoads said in an interview with CNBC. “We built the hub in Cincinnati to serve our Amazon customers, there’s really no other purpose than that.”
Amazon Air now has more than 75 aircraft in the network, and the company expects to have more than 80 planes at this time next year and 85, both leased and owned, by the end of 2022. This is very good news for the customers.
“We’re learning a lot as a company through this process of owning and working through the conversion of aircraft,” Rhoads said. “A lot of it comes down to availability of feedstock and what makes the most sense for our network and our customers as well.”