On Thursday, Aug 20 Atlas starts two more stations... MIA-SJU-MIA on the 767 and PDX-LAL-RFD with a Southern 737.
I figured we'd start to see some LAL routes on 737s, so there ya go. Also, for whatever reason, the SOO additions seem to be unadventurous; sticking with existing stations and maybe adding another node. Maybe the idea is not to overwhelm their capabilities, like appeared to happen with the first 3 aircraft.
Also interesting that now that SCX opened up SJU with a 738 from Tampa, Amazon is going full-bore with a 767-300 from MIA. Good on them.
I have to figure that we're not going to have too many more additions to the network this year. It seems that Amazon basically loads in its Peak schedule a little early, then freezes it through early January, to maximize reliability and predictability. Also explains why the last 767-300 to be added this year will be in September.
One reason that might change this year: the screwing around that the UPSs and now USPSs of the world are doing with rates and Peak disincentives. Whereas Amazon used its organic network for a fixed, reliable, self-controlled portion of its Peak business and ceded the rest to other carriers, to the extent that other carriers are making it more expensive/difficult for Amazon, and as Amazon has gained experience with its air and ground (truck and rail) operations, it may wish to Peak-Up a bit, to the extent it can. However, prudence dictates, particularly on the air side, that one get into place whatever network one plans to operate during Peak, and get it tweaked and running smoothly before one bombards it with packages. UPS and FedEx don't really do this because it is expensive; instead, based on decades of experience, they plan, plan, plan, and push the revised network into place right before they need it. Sometimes, this works very well; sometimes not. The smoothest year UPS had was right after a bad one, and the economy didn't push as much business their way as expected, so the combination of being Uber-Ready and a little-lighter Peak than they were ready for led to a stellar operational performance -- and loads of BS from "analysts" who said they overspent shareholders' profits (which in my view they had to do to regain credibility with customers, but the moneybaggers never see it that way). So the next year, well...you know: not so good. I think Amazon wants to avoid those peaks and valleys of performance in its in-house operation, which it has the flexibility to do.
Also, a prediction here: Trump will start to lay off the USPS as far as Amazon "abusing" it the more that shopping malls start to add Amazon facilities in the place of dead-space anchor tenants. Simon, one of the largest mall operators, has reached some kind of tentative deal with Amazon to try that with some of the Big Boxes left vacant by like JCPenney and Sears. Put a local distribution center in there, and you can salvage a lot. Advantages: Malls are already located optimally wrt highways and such, and now the dying ones have acres of unused parking. Perfect. And, very importantly, Amazon is gonna pay the same or more per square foot than a Big Box store would. Those "anchor tenants" always get away with paying a ridiculously-low price per square foot, because, the theory goes, they draw the crowds that will then go to what are called the "inline" stores in the portion of the mall between the big-boxes, the food court, etc. That may or may not actually be true, because some people just go to the mall to shop at Hot Topix or the Sunglass Hut or whatever or to stroll around, but that's the way rents are structured. Disadvantages: Many of the inline stores get significant rent reductions if the big boxes are x percent empty. And certainly fewer people will go to the mall if it doesn't feel active and they're staring at empty Big Boxes. The big question psychologically is whether they're not patronizing the Inlines because they're not starting first at JCPenney, or is it because the place is just depressing? I personally think it is the latter, primarily, and if 1/3 of the parking lot is filled with Amazon employee cars and Amazon vehicles, and the portion used by Amazon, while not available to mall shoppers, feels alive and happening, and the entire mall parking lot feels fresh and repaved and newly-landscaped -- the PLACE feels active, regardless of whether any particular Big Box is -- I think the Inlines will be surprised at how much business they keep and/or recover.
Anyway, the more that happens, the less this President is going to be attacking Amazon, I think, and blaming it for USPS losses. I do think that streamlining parts of the USPS via an outsider is a good idea in principle, but I think it's gonna have to wait until next year, at which point it may or may not happen, depending on election outcomes.
Last edited by wjcandee
on Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.