Hawaii Island residents ordering products via Amazon can expect faster shipping following the start of Amazon Air operations Thursday at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole.
The Kona airport, as well as Kahului Airport on Maui, will service daily flights originating from Amazon Air’s mainland regional gateway at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. The “regional gateways” are Amazon’s second and third destinations in the state after entering the establishing a gateway at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu in April 2018.
The company said its Amazon Air operations will enable faster shipping for customers on both islands. Amazon began air operations in 2016 and currently has a fleet of more than 80 aircraft.
“We are excited to expand Amazon Air’s operations in Hawaii so that we can deliver for Hawaiian customers who are relying on us during this time,” said Chris Preston, director of Amazon Air Gateway Operations. “We look forward to improving the delivery window for customers in Maui and on Hawaii Island over time, just like we did in Honolulu when we first began operations in the state in 2018.”
Amazon Air’s continuing fleet expansion comes at a time when people in communities across the country continue to adjust to the pandemic, with many relying on having the items they need delivered directly to their doorstep.
Amazon Air said it has played a central role during the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting essential PPE supplies for Amazon associates, frontline health workers and relief organizations across the U.S., all while maintaining capacity for regular cargo operations to ensure customers continue to receive the items they need.
Now, with expanded cargo capacity to come to Hawaii and Maui islands, Amazon will continue to meet evolving demand and a growing customer base, the company said.
The online company has seen net income increase by 41% in the second quarter this year compared to 2019.
“Amazon Air is critical to ensuring fast delivery for our customers – both in the current environment we are facing, and beyond,” said Sarah Rhoads, vice president of Amazon Global Air. “During a time when so many of our customers rely on us to get what they need without leaving their homes, expanding our dedicated air network ensures we have the capacity to deliver what our customers want: great selection, low prices and fast shipping speeds.”
The launch of the regional gateways on Hawaii Island and Maui comes on the heels of Amazon’s land purchase in Honolulu last month.
“We are excited about Amazon’s growing presence in Hawaii and welcome Amazon Air to two new locations in the state, said Gov. David Ige. “Amazon has already invested more than $100 million in our great state and has more than 6,500 small and medium-sized businesses growing their business using Amazon products and services. We look forward to the continued benefits Amazon’s presence will have for customers and commerce across our islands.”