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Amazon Air cargo network adding 15 more planes, with fleet expected to hit 70 by 2021

Amazon One flies over Seafair in Seattle in 2016. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Amazon is adding more airplanes to its fleet to further bolster its efforts to provide speedy delivery.

The tech giant will lease an additional 15 Boeing 737-800 cargo aircraft in partnership with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the company announced Tuesday at the International Paris Air Show. The planes are in addition to five others already leased from GECAS earlier this year, and will fly in the United States as part of  the Amazon Air network. Back in December, Amazon announced the addition of 10 737-300 aircraft as an expansion of its partnership with Air Transport Services Group.

Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said that the aircraft create additional capacity for Amazon Air and build on the company’s investment in its Prime Free One-Day program — a major tweak of its Prime perk announced in April.

“By 2021, Amazon Air will have a portfolio of 70 aircraft flying in our dedicated air network,” Clark said in a news release.

RELATED: Amazon shows off new all-electric Prime Air drone that will start delivering packages ‘within months’

Amazon Air launched in 2016 and now operates out of more than 20 U.S. airports. New facilities will open this year at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, Wilmington Air Park, and Chicago Rockford International Airport. CEO Jeff Bezos helped break ground recently on the $1.5 billion Air Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, which will open in 2021.

“We’re delighted to support Amazon Air’s dedicated air network,” Richard Greener, GECAS Cargo’s senior vice president, said in a statement. “The capability of the 737-800 freighter will further Amazon’s ability to provide reliable and regional delivery to its customers for years to come.”

Amazon’s shipping costs have ballooned in recent years as the company aims to speed up delivery. In 2018, Amazon spent $27.7 billion on shipping, an increase of $6 billion or roughly 27.6 percent over the prior year, according to GeekWire research. Worldwide shipping costs reached $7.3 billion in the first quarter, up 21 percent year-over-year.

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