Amazon on Tuesday said it agreed to lease 15 more Boeing cargo planes from GE Capital Aviation Services, helping the e-commerce titan continue growing its air fleet so it can speed up Prime deliveries.
The 15 Boeing 737-800 planes are in addition to the five planes Amazon already agreed to lease from GECAS earlier this year. The company has 42 planes flying today, and by 2021 it will operate 70 planes.
Amazon expanded its fleet as part of its expensive effort to transition its program to one day in the US. That work is already resulting in packages arriving earlier at Prime customers' doorsteps and may help Amazon maintain its competitive edge against rivals like Walmart.
In April, Amazon said it was spending $800 million this quarter to bolster its shipping infrastructure to support the change. Last month, CEO Jeff Bezos attended a groundbreaking ceremony for Amazon's new in Hebron, Kentucky. Amazon has also built out a network of 10,000 truck trailers.
Still, this work has come with new challenges for the company. Pilots working for Prime Air have regularly complained about poor pay and lousy working conditions. Also, this month decided not to renew its Express air shipping contract with Amazon, a move widely seen as a reaction to Amazon expanding its own shipping network.