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CINCINNATIAmazon Air, the cargo branch of the American retail giant has acquired seven Boeing 767 passenger jets directly from Delta Air Lines. The airline retired those planes in June after air travel slumped due to the pandemic.

Seattle-based Inc. will convert the 767s into cargo airplanes, and then add them to its fast-growing fleet of freighter aircraft as it prepares to open a $1.5 billion air cargo hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Amazon and Delta both declined to comment on the deal, or say where the jets will undergo conversions, but an aerospace industry source confirmed the transaction. It was first reported by CargoFacts, a trade publication.

Prices for used 767-300s can vary widely, ranging from $9 million to $65 million, depending on ownership and how well they have been maintained. Delta owns a huge maintenance arm, and its jets are well-maintained.

The two big companies could release more details about their transaction next week, the aerospace source added.

Atlanta-based Delta retired the seven 767s in June and took a $180 million impairment charge on those aircraft, according to its most recent quarterly financial report filed with the U.S. Securities Commission.

As a result, any deal to sell them to Amazon would give the airline a nice year-end financial boost.

In recent years, air cargo companies have competed aggressively and paid handsomely to get their hands on retired passenger 767 jets to convert them to carry cargo.

Now, however, the market is suddenly flooded with passenger 767s — what the cargo industry calls "conversion feedstock " — that were retired by major airlines like Delta during the pandemic. Air Canada, for example, also announced its low-budget affiliate, Rouge, would retire its entire fleet of 25 767s in June.

Delta itself also said will retire the rest of its 25-aircraft 767-300 fleet by 2025, taking a further $900 million charge on the old gas guzzlers when it made that decision in September.
Via (Business Journal)
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