Amazon India on Monday launched Amazon Air, making it the first e-commerce company in the country to have a dedicated air cargo network.

Amazon Air will utilise the complete cargo capacity of a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, operated by Quikjet Cargo Airlines, a joint venture between AFL and the Ireland-based ASL Aviation Group, the e-commerce giant says in a statement.

The Amazon-branded aircraft will transport customer shipments to cities such as Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai.

"We're thrilled to launch Amazon Air in India to ensure we can provide our growing customer base with great selection, low prices, and faster deliveries," says Sarah Rhoads, vice president, Amazon Global Air.

"The announcement reinforces Amazon India's commitment to continue building capacity and will further enhance its transportation network," the online retailer says.

Quikjet's new aircraft was inducted today in Hyderabad by Telangana minister Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, who leads the Municipal Administration & Urban Development, Industries & Commerce, and Information Technology, alongside Amazon's senior leadership.

"Telangana offers a conducive environment for the development of multi-modal connectivity and I take great pride in the fact that Hyderabad has emerged as a major hub for e-commerce distribution and supply chain activities. We have been working towards strengthening the state’s air cargo infrastructure, and we welcome the launch of Amazon Air, which will further assist in making Hyderabad a cargo hub for the country and will create additional employment opportunities in the state," says Telangana minister KT Rama Rao.

The launch of Amazon Air will further support 1.1 million sellers in India, enabling growth for ancillary businesses such as transportation and packaging. "This marks a very important step for our sellers and our customers, as well as a huge step forward for the aviation industry. We are celebrating a significant milestone in our global mission to transform the future of logistics," says Akhil Saxena, vice president – Customer Fulfilment (APAC, MENA & LATAM) and WW Customer Service, Amazon. "Amazon Air comes to India at an important time. Over the last few years, we have taken many positive steps to build our fulfilment, transportation, and logistics infrastructure in the country," Saxena adds.

Amazon Air was launched in 2016 in the US and operates an air cargo network that has grown to include over 110 aircrafts across 70 destinations worldwide. Since then, Amazon has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in air logistics capabilities.

The development comes days after Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company will lay off 18,000 workers starting January 18.

"Between the reductions we made in November and the ones we're sharing today, we plan to eliminate just over 18,000 roles," Jassy said in a message to employees. While several teams will be impacted, the majority of role eliminations are in Amazon Stores and People, Experience, and Technology (PXT) organisations, the CEO said.

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