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Amazon Seeks Used Long-Range Cargo Jets Able to Fly From China

  • Company plans to acquire converted 777 and A330-300 aircraft
  • Potential plane deal could ratchet up rivalry with UPS, FedEx
Cargo is loaded into an airplane at the Amazon Air Hub in Cincinnati.
Cargo is loaded into an airplane at the Amazon Air Hub in Cincinnati.Photographer: Jeff Dean/Bloomberg
Updated on Inc. is shopping for used long-range Boeing Co. and Airbus SE cargo planes, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest evidence of the e-commerce giant’s ambitions to move products across borders itself.

Amazon is in the market for refurbished cargo versions of one of the largest twin-engine passenger jets currently flying, Boeing’s 777-300ER, along with conversions of Airbus’s popular A330-300 wide-body aircraft, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential matters. Both models are a step up from the mid-size Boeing 767 aircraft that have served as the backbone of Amazon’s fleet for five years.  
Converted Boeing 777s would let Amazon directly import products from China and other countries, the people said, stepping up the company’s rivalry with United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. A refurbished cargo version of the 777 passenger plane -- dubbed the 777-300ERSF -- will enter service next year. It will hold 25% more volume than Boeing’s existing freighter and is emerging as an heir to the planemaker’s hump-backed 747 jumbos that have hauled goods across the North Pacific for decades.