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Amazon announces it has purchased four planes from Westjet

Last Updated Jan 5, 2021 at 7:59 am PDT

A WestJet flight from Calgary arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Enfield, N.S. on Monday, July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – One of Canada’s major airlines is selling some of its jets to a retail giant.

Calgary-based Westjet announced it is selling four Boeing 767-300 planes to Amazon, who is also acquiring seven planes from Delta Airlines.

Amazon made the purchase as it looks to expand its global cargo fleet, Amazon Air.

“Our goal is to continue delivering for customers across the U.S. in the way that they expect from Amazon, and purchasing our own aircraft is a natural next step toward that goal,” said Sarah Rhoads, Vice President of Amazon Global Air. “Having a mix of both leased and owned aircraft in our growing fleet allows us to better manage our operations, which in turn helps us to keep pace in meeting our customer promises.”

The company said it’s the first time it has purchased planes for its delivery network. Over the past couple of years, Amazon has been leasing planes to build its fleet.

Seattle-based Amazon has been working to deliver most of its packages itself and rely less on UPS, the U.S. Postal Service and other carriers. Besides its fleet of planes, Amazon has also built several package-sorting hubs at airports, opened warehouses closer to where shoppers live and launched a program that lets contractors start businesses delivering packages in vans stamped with the Amazon logo.

The aircraft purchased from Westjet will undergo a conversion from passenger to cargo transportation and are expected to join the Amazon Air network later this year while the Delta planes could be ready by 2022.

Amazon Air launched in 2016 and now operates in several airports in the U.S. and across the globe including Germany and Puerto Rico.

Amazon.com Inc. declined to say how much it is paying for the planes.

-With files from The Associated Press