Fresh off the issuance of its Part 135 Airline Operations Certificate (AOC) over the weekend Amazon is now also the proud owner of its first cargo 767 operating under a direct registration rather than through a leasing agreement. The registration N503AZ was issued on 31 August 2020 to Amazon.com Services LLC. The aircraft will serve as part of the company’s PrimeAir flight operations.
The aircraft started in passenger service for Qantas in 1991 as VH-OGJ and then flew for WestJet the past 5 years as C-FOGJ. It went into storage in March and moved to Amazon in mid-August. The aircraft is currently in Lake City, Florida (LCQ).
A second 763 from WestJet, C-GOGN, arrived in Lake City, Florida from Calgary on Saturday. WestJet has two more 763s in storage in Calgary that could transition to Amazon.
Amazon currently has five N-Numbers reserved with the FAA, including the one currently active for N503AZ. The next numbers are N521AZ, N563AZ, N569AZ and N571AZ. Of note, all the numbers in the registrations are primes.
The ever growing freighter operations, including subcontracted service from passenger airline Sun Country, has led some to wonder when Amazon would be forced to recognize all its aircraft as part of a single operation rather than a mix of outsourced services. Given the level of control the company exerts over the contracted services the shift to bring more into its direct operation may not be too far away. And with that a change in the cargo operations considerations for the many suppliers.
The expanded freighter operations join up with Amazon’s recent approval for testing of drone services under its Part 135 AOC. That approval allows the company to continue and expand its trial services of the UAS-based delivery service. Given the lengthy list of exclusions it is unlikely to be providing true customer-facing service anytime soon. But it continues to move forward with those efforts.
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Amazon is not a Part 121 direct air carrier. All Amazon heavy jet operations are conducted by certificated 121 direct carriers (Atlas, ATSG, Sun, et al). The recently awarded Amazon AOC is a Part 135 for the (today) heavily restricted drone operation.
Why is N521AZ parked at IAI in Israel? What are they fitting it for?
Seth Miller says
IAI performs the conversion from passenger aircraft to freighter. N503AZ is also there and should be wrapping up that work by the end of the month.