Amazon, in its bid to take more control over its own shipping and logistics, has contracted Sun Country Airlines to fly a fleet of 10 Boeing 737-800 freighters in Q2 of the year, according to a report by CNBC.
Sun Country is a small carrier based in Minneapolis, and the move is part of Amazon’s plan to expand Amazon Air with the use of single-aisle, leased planes.
Right now, Amazon’s air unit uses Atlas Air and ATSG to transport packages. The company has minority stakes in both operations, and it has been making more and more moves to have its logistics operations in house. The company cut ties with FedEx as well.
Sun Country Airlines mainly flies seasonally and the partnership with Amazon will help it to even out its business model, according to CEO Jude Bricker.
Bricker said that being at the mercy of seasonal flying is one of the “core challenges we have with growing our business.” He also said that Amazon’s demand is highest in Q4, which is when Sun Country has the lowest demand for commercial flyers.
Bricker added that he went to Amazon about a year ago to try and sell the eCommerce giant a used plane, but that didn’t work out. However, the company returned earlier this year to discuss a cargo deal, something that “wasn’t part of our plan,” he said.
The company will need to add pilots to make up for the increased demand, and Sun Country plans on adding about 150 of them in the next year and a half. This would bring Sun Country’s total number of pilots up to 500.
Those pilots will still be under passenger carrier rest and other regulations required of regular commercial pilots.
Sun Country is the eleventh largest Airline in the United States, and it’s considered an ultra-low cost airline. It’s headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota.