Amazon Air expands operations to Kona International Airport

  • In this Oct. 10, 2018, file photo, Amazon Prime boxes are loaded on a cart for delivery in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

  • An Amazon Prime employee hunts for items at one of the company’s urban fulfillment facilities that have been ordered by customers. Amazon Air announced Thursday the start of operations at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport as Keahole, designating the Hawaii Island airport a “regional gateway” that’ll service daily flights originating from Amazon Air’s mainland regional gateway at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)

  • In this Aug. 4, 2016 file photo, Amazon.com boxes are shown stacked near a Boeing 767 Amazon “Prime Air” cargo plane on display in a Boeing hangar in Seattle. 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 (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

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 the Kahului airport on Maui, will service daily flights originating from Amazon Air’s mainland regional gateway at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif. The “regional gateways” are Amazon’s second and third destinations in the state after establishing a gateway at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu in April 2018.

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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 throughout the U.S. continue to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic, with many relying items they need being delivered directly to their doorstep.

Now, with expanded cargo capacity to come to Hawaii Island and Maui, 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 of 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.”

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The launch of the regional gateways on Hawaii Island and Maui comes on the heels of Amazon’s land purchase in Honolulu last month.

Email Laura Ruminski at lruminski@westhawaiitoday.com.

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