Amazon Air adds ‘Valor,’ the fleet’s 40th freighter, to honor veterans’ service

More than two years after Amazon announced the order of 40 freighters that would form the backbone of its own-operated fleet of cargo aircraft, its air carrier subsidiary, Amazon Air, announced the delivery of “Valor,” the 40th 767-300 converted freighter, at a Monday post-Veteran’s Day event in Long Beach, Calif., attended by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and more than 100 members of the United States’ military.

More than 100 military veterans now working for Amazon attended the Monday ceremony.

The aircraft (N1487A) completes the company’s initial order of 40 dedicated freighters for its air network, and will be the 20th 767-300F operated for Amazon on a CMI (crew, maintenance and insurance) basis by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW), and leased by AAWW’s Titan Aviation leasing unit. The remaining 20 freighters in the network are operated by Air Transport Services Group subsidiary carriers, ATI International and ABX Air.

“Our delivery of 20 aircraft to Amazon over the last 28 months is a significant achievement,” said Atlas Air CEO William Flynn. “E-commerce is the fastest-growing air cargo segment, and we are excited to continue our partnership with Amazon.”

To honor the 18,000 “veterans, military spouses and citizen soldiers” that work on Amazon’s staff, the e-tail giant’s affinity group, Warriors@Amazon, named the latest converted freighter Valor, meaning strength in Latin.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, seen here with Amazon Air Director Sarah Rhoads, made a surprise appearance at the unveiling ceremony.

The company also said in a blog post that it is expanding its Amazon Veteran Technical Apprenticeship program to train military veterans and their spouses in cloud-computing skills, “providing on-the-job, paid apprenticeships for service members to seamlessly upskill, and transition into high-demand tech roles.” So far, more than 150 vets and spouses have been trained in these skills since the apprenticeship program began in 2017, Amazon said.

Amazon also said it is gearing up to capture even more of the market-share of peak season demand by cutting its usual US$25 free-shipping minimum – a promotion which launched Nov. 5 and will last until late December.

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