By Ian McMurtry
Wichita lands Amazon flights via Silver Airways
Amazon Air continues to grow as the airline once again called on one of its operators to begin service at Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. The airport saw the first Silver Airways ATR 72-500F arrive at the quiet Midwest airport on Thursday, landing at 1:03 a.m. and returning to its origin at 5:15 a.m.
Amazon Air uses a focus city in Fort Worth Alliance to connect the cities and relies on Silver’s fleet of 5 ATRs to connect the Kansan and Texan cities. Silver has been running services for Amazon since November 12e, using an ATR fleet that matches that of its commercial operations out of Florida. The latest aircraft type for the airline comes from used aircraft retrieval, with the previous operators ranging from Air Corsica to Aurigny Air Services with aircraft ages ranging from 12 to 18 years.
Amazon Air’s fleet now consists of 95 aircraft operating from nine different operators. The two-day delivery service has 26 Boeing 737-800BCFs spread across Atlas Air, Sun Country Airlines and ASL Airlines Ireland, 12 Boeing 767-200s evenly distributed with Air Transport International and ABX Air, and 54 Boeing 767-300ER(BCF)s with 33 at Air Transport International, 19 with Atlas Air and 2 with Canadian airline Cargojet. Silver is the only ATR operator.
“This is an exciting expansion for Amazon Air that will provide increased capacity to ship packages to our valued customers in the Wichita area and Central Kansas. We are excited about Amazon’s continued investment in Kansas and look forward to continued growth to meet the demands of our customers,” said Chris Preston, director of operations, Amazon Air Gateway.
Amazon Air will call on Trego-Dugan Aviation to load and unload the cargo planes for the courier company in Wichita. The airline company rented 10,691 square feet of space in the airport’s air cargo building to conduct operations. Amazon Air will share the ramp with fellow parcel carriers FedEx, UPS and DHL, all of which operate a mix of aircraft ranging from the Airbus A300 to the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan. An ice pad has also been made available for Amazon Air, with the Silver-operated aircraft using 1,470 square feet of space for PrimeFlight Aviation for deicing services.
The Wichita-Ft. The Worth route is not new to either city as FedEx Feeder airline Empire Airlines has its own ATR 72F that operates between the two cities for the airline. from ft. Worth , Amazon Packages will have access to flights to 11 additional Amazon Air destinations by air, as well as access to the eCommerce company’s extensive ground transportation network.
But that’s not to say the company doesn’t have access to the said network, Amazon is expanding rapidly in the “Aviation Capital of the World.” The company has already invested $4 billion in the region over the past decade and created 8,000 jobs for local Kansans employees. As a result, Amazon has constructed two buildings in the area, a 140,000-square-foot delivery station in northeast Wichita and a million-square-foot fulfillment center in the Park City suburb. The city notes that Amazon’s investments have created $3 billion in GDP for Kansas, and this growth continues to benefit more than just Wichita, but all of rural Kansas.
Jesse Romo, director of airports at Wichita Airport Authority, welcomed the additional freight service and said, “We are proud to welcome Amazon Air to Wichita Eisenhower Airport. This location is uniquely positioned with easy access to Highway 54/400 and Interstate 235 to support Amazon’s deliveries to customers in Kansas and the surrounding areas.”