Amazon is building an airport to have greater control over their shipping. The online retail giant broke ground on a 1.5 billion dollar facility outside of Cincinnati on Tuesday. CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos was at the ceremony and used a front loader to break earth at the site.
The company signed a 50-year old lease on 900 acres of property from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport back in 2017.
Business Insider says the airport will allow Amazon to have tighter control over its shipping by air and remove the need to use third parties like FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
The airport will help Amazon amp up its one-day delivery service which was previously offered to Prime members on orders over $35 now, but Amazon wants to expand that to all prime members.
Pilot shortage a risk
The airport will open in 2021 and should create around 2000 jobs. One position that Amazon is certainly keen to fill is that of pilots. Observers note that there is a significant lack of commercial airline pilots willing and able to work for shipping lines. This lack of staff means extra pressure on the pilots who are employed by logistics companies.
Robert Kirchner, chair of the executive council of Atlas Air (a cargo-shipping airline), was interviewed by local TV during the groundbreaking ceremony. Kirchner pointed out that pilot safety is an issue that Amazon needs to deal with early.
"There's a large uptick in fatigue calls, sick calls. Pilots are just being worn out," noted Kirchner in an interview with local Cincinnati TV station WLWT.
"There are a lot of canceled flights, a lot of delayed flights, due to the pilot shortage and the staffing stressed operation, and that doesn't bode well for the future of this enterprise that Amazon is breaking ground on today."
Push into every area of logistics
Amazon is also fighting a truck and driver shortage which they have tackled by taking the unusual step of encouraging their current drivers to quit their job and start a ground delivery business. Drivers have been offered three-months' salary and $10,000 in startup funding to help Amazon reach their same-day delivery goals.
Amazon is reaching into every possible method of delivery to ensure they dominate the competition. Drones, trucks, planes, and even autonomous robots are now making deliveries across the U.S and across the world. Amazon has begun testing a fleet of fully-electric autonomous delivery robots.
Robots roll to your door
The wheeled cooler-sized robots called Amazon Scouts will begin deliveries in Snohomish County, Washington this week. The robots were devised by Amazon and can roll around their delivery routes at a walking pace.
The six-wheeled boxy bots have an array of sensors that help it navigate the suburbs, detecting obstacles, pets, and people.
In a demo video released by the logistics giant, Scout is seen trundling along the sidewalk before stopping in front of its designated delivery location.
Amazon’s dominance in online retail and logistics is hard to beat, but the company is also plagued by stories of poor treatment of workers.