|Shakeup at Prime Air as Amazon taps new manufacturers|
Nov. 19, 2020 4:01 AM ET|About: Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN)|By: Yoel Minkoff, SA News Editor
Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) drone project has already been seven years in the making, completing its first delivery in 2016 and receiving U.S. regulatory approval (Part 135 certification) to begin limited testing in August.
Now, the unit is laying off dozens of R&D and manufacturing staff as it reached tentative component deals with two external manufacturers - Austria's FACC Aerospace and Spain's Aernnova Aerospace, FT reports.
Keep in mind that Amazon brought in former Boeing executive David Carbon to run the unit in March, replacing Gur Kimchi, who had ran the operation since 2013.
"It's not meeting the lofty goals and the original vision quite yet," said David Benowitz, head of research at DroneAnalyst. Amazon is trailing what is now a highly competitive field, with rival Walmart (NYSE: WMT) set to begin trialing deliveries with San Francisco-based drone company Zipline.
According to details released in mid-2019, Prime Air will make use of a hexagon-shaped, fully-electric drone that can fly up to 15 miles and carry packages weighing under five pounds.