Your Amazon packages may be getting an express ticket — Amazon has finished building its $1.5 billion air hub, located at the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport, and has started operations there. Amazon started building the 800,000-square-foot facility in 2019, and it now boasts robots, miles of conveyor belts, and more.
A big benefit of having a centrally located place to process packages and get them on planes is speed — that’s why UPS has a hub in Louisville, Kentucky; FedEx ships many packages through Memphis, Tenessee; and DHL has a hub in the same airport as Amazon. Amazon’s press release says that the cargo hub will help with the “rapid transport of customer packages throughout the U.S.” Jeff Bezos also made that argument, tweeting that the hub would help customers get packages faster when the company broke ground on the site.
Amazon has been working on expanding its air capabilities since it started on its fleet in 2016. The company even purchased 11 planes for itself earlier this year. In April 2021, Amazon had over 70 planes working as part of its transportation and logistics network, according to a press release put out by the company.
Amazon’s estimates of processing “millions of packages every week” at its air hub once it becomes fully operational shows that it’s become a massive shipper in its own right, one that’s interested in keeping the packages within its control at every step. In 2019, Amazon stopped working with FedEx for air and ground transportation of its packages, and its massive investment into the facility indicates that the company is looking to take even more control over the air portion of its logistics chain.
Some analysts have speculated that Amazon could be looking to use its logistics prowess to deliver other company’s packages, not just its own. At the moment, Amazon’s messaging is focused mainly on how its air hub will impact consumers and the local Northern Kentucky area, but the company has recently been investing in personal transportation companies like Zoox and Rivian. If Amazon is looking to become a transportation company for you and your packages, a centrally located logistics hub would certainly be an important investment.