Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), based at the Wilmington Air Park, has reached agreement to operate an air cargo network for an Amazon subsidiary, but it's unclear if all the planes Amazon is leasing will continue to fly out of Wilmington.
Since last summer ATSG has been working with Amazon Fulfillment Services to customize an air cargo network. Under the deal Amazon will lease 20 Boeing 767 aircraft and be able to acquire 20 percent of ATSG's common share stock.
The Clinton County Port Authority operates the Wilmington Air Park.
"This is, obviously, exciting news for our largest Air Park tenant and one of our community’s largest employers, irrespective of where the operations ultimately take place," said Dan Evers, executive director of the port authority.
"It reinforces that Clinton County, the Wilmington Air Park, and our entire region is an exceptional location for aviation, technology-enabled, and logistics employers and opportunities," Evers said.
According to Amazon Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations and Customer Service Dave Clark, said his company is"excited to supplement our existing delivery network with a great new provider, by adding 20 planes to ensure air cargo capacity to support one and two-day delivery for customers."
Months ago people started noticing four 767s taking off daily at the Wilmington Air Park.
It was the publication Motherboard which first reported that Amazon would be the most likely to contract with Air Transport Services Group (ATSG). The technology publication said the shipping venture's code name was "Aerosmith." At the time ATSG spokesman Paul Cunningham told WVXU a company did sign a short-term contract but he wouldn't say who.
The Wilmington Air Park has been aggressively marketing itself since DHL left in 2009 and the German company donated the land to the Clinton County Port Authority.
In December, 2015, Brandon Fried thought Wilmington would be a great location for Amazon to sort its packages and fly out of as the company looks to lower costs. He's the executive director of the Airforwarders Association in Washington D.C.
"Their transportation expense is significant and maybe this is a way to cut that down by taking some of that in-house and chartering its own mini-air system if you will," according to Fried.
"This is a game of efficiency and (Amazon is) in a very competitive marketplace right now," he said.