Amazon looks at lay-offs in key drone delivery department

Layoffs could be coming for Amazon workers as part of outsourcing plans. Credit: Creative Commons

Amazon Prime Air reorganisation move aims to speed up project 

Amazon is to lay-off dozens of employees working on its drone delivery project as it looks to outsource work to two European companies. 

The move follows the signing of preliminary deals with Austria’s FACC Aerospace and Spain’s Aernnova Aerospace to build parts for its airborne delivery drones. Terms of both deals are being finalised, according to multiple sources. 

Amazon’s drone programme has been a key part of the company’s push towards the future of its delivery service and was first unveiled by boss Jeff Bezos in 2013 to handle smaller packages on shorter journeys. 

During the last year Amazon has invited proposals from a number of drone companies as it looks to accelerate its high-profile project.

Kristen Kish, spokeswoman for Amazon, said: “As part of our regular business operations, we are reorganising one small team within our larger Prime Air organization to allow us to best align with the needs of our customers and the business. 

“For affected employees, we are working to find roles in the areas where we are hiring that best match their experience and needs.” 

Amazon’s Prime Air service – the official name of its drone roll out – will offer fully electric drones that can fly up to 15 miles per hour and deliver packages weighing under five pounds (2.3kg) to customers within a half hour time slot.

The project that Amazon claimed would be given approval “within months” more than a year ago won regulatory approval for trial flights in the US at the beginning of last month.

Amazon drones consist of wings and a rotor and can fly in the form of a quadcopter and an aeroplane that will allow the units to take off and land vertically and also glide horizontally. The drones will be piloted by on-board autonomous technologies. 

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