Why Air BnB? Amazon and DHL among firms trying a ‘road to FedEx’

Image copyright Courtesy of Boeing At the start of the summer Amazon announced it had reserved 740 of Boeing’s new Dreamliner aircraft to operate at its US hubs, following a trial run. But then…

Why Air BnB? Amazon and DHL among firms trying a 'road to FedEx'

Image copyright Courtesy of Boeing

At the start of the summer Amazon announced it had reserved 740 of Boeing’s new Dreamliner aircraft to operate at its US hubs, following a trial run. But then came reports that Jeff Bezos was looking to buy another UK-based airline. What other companies are looking at this model?

Amazon Prime Air is one of a growing number of businesses that see the massive potential in selling an airplane-shaped service to haul up to 60 tonnes of goods over the skies.

Companies range from giants like Amazon to tiny start-ups, such as one called Emu.

And since they all share at least one big benefit, it’s clear they all need access to new technology.

Cindy Meyer, principal engineer at Boeing, says these companies are looking to boost the efficiency of their operations and the impact of their cargo business on the planet.

In an interview with the BBC, she explains how several superbusiness partners are gaining experience in how to cut costs and move their cargo to areas they need to reach, often very rapidly.

It’s called revenue sharing – and as with any sharing agreement it can run into legal difficulties. This is what happened to an Uber for agricultural workers in India in July 2017, when it was ruled that drivers could not be employed as employees, but rather as “micro-entrepreneurs”.

Ms Meyer says no legal questions were raised during the Amazon negotiations – but the Amazon deal was also on some of the Boeing’s intellectual property.

Image copyright Courtesy of Amazon

“On our product not being proprietary, we have trade secret protections in place and that is a separate process. The thing I would like to say to customers or third parties to get them comfortable with a different governance model is we are taking that extra step,” she said.

The Boeing is not the only company to take this approach.

DHL, Germany’s largest postal company, is also looking at expanding its delivery service using airplanes – and also says it is being pushed into this direction.

Image copyright Courtesy of Amazon

John Lowes, vice president of freight for DHL Group, told the BBC this month that “engineered aviation solutions are increasingly being considered by commercial operators”.

It means in this world there may be more than one small company to deliver your Christmas order in time.

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