Mark Makela/Reuters

As Amazon.com increasingly looks to deliver its own packages, the online retailer is using Charlotte as one of the building blocks for its “Prime Air” cargo service.

As of August, two carriers that work with Amazon have been flying a total of two flights per day from Charlotte Douglas International Airport. And ABX Air and Air Transit International — both subsidiaries of Air Transport Services Group — have room to expand, according to e-mails obtained by the Observer through a public records request.

Seattle-based Amazon got its start in 1994 as an online seller of books, but in recent years, it’s been shaking up the entire retail industry. Now it’s moving into the turf of UPS and FedEx as it expands its cargo fleet.

UPS Inc. ranks No. 1 and FedEx Corp. is No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

Amazon has been building a “centralized air hub” at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport “to support its growing fleet of Prime Air cargo planes,” and the project will create 2,000 jobs, the company said.

RELATED: Amazon starts flexing muscle in new space — air cargo

It’s not clear if this move will have any effect at Charlotte Douglas.

“We operate the air network at the discretion of our customer, which means they make all the decisions about where we will fly for them,” said Paul Cunningham, a spokesman for ATSG, the Ohio-based company whose subsidiaries fly for Amazon.

“As such, we’re unable to answer questions about how the new [Cincinnati] hub will affect CLT [Charlotte Douglas], or whether there are any expansion plans for CLT.”

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By Rick Rothacker
The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer

 

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