Amazon plans takeover of two Pinnacle Logistics air cargo operations

Amazon Prime jet in air Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN)  is taking over Pinnacle Logistics air cargo operations in Baltimore, Maryland, and Rockford, Illinois, where it likely will offer jobs to employees Pinnacle plans to lay off, according to media reports.

The Rockford layoffs of 1,416 workers would take effect on or around May 12 when Amazon assumes Fort Worth, Texas-based Pinnacle’s operations at Chicago Rockford International Airport, according to a report Friday in the Rockford Register Star.

Amazon has offered the affected hourly Pinnacle workers jobs with Prime Air, the e-commerce retailer’s aviation arm, the newspaper said.

“Amazon has been an active member of the greater Chicago-area business community for several years, and we are excited to grow our direct employee base in the area to now include our Rockford Air Gateway,” Amazon spokeswoman Rena Lunak told the Register Star on Friday. 

Amazon last week made a similar move involving the Pinnacle Logistics operation in the cargo operations at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport as it builds its own domestic air freight shipping network.

The Baltimore Business Journal and Business Insider reported that Pinnacle filed notice with the State of Maryland that it would lay off 1,609 workers at BWI. Those layoffs take effect April 14.

Amazon termed the action in Baltimore as a transition. It said all of Pinnacle’s ground crew, ramp crew and other hourly workers have been offered their existing roles with Amazon as their employer. 

Amazon opened a $36 million, 200,000-square-foot regional hub for its Prime Air operations in Baltimore last year, according to Business Insider, which first reported the BWI story.

“It became clear to us, based on what we’ve seen at other airports where Amazon and Pinnacle operate, that at some point in time Amazon would take over the operations and services that Pinnacle has been providing.” Rockford Airport Director Mike Dunn told the Register Star. 

Rockford’s airport was the world’s fastest-growing cargo airport in 2018 for facilities that handled more than 250 metric tons of air cargo, according to a September 2019 report from Airports Council International. 

Amazon’s presence at RFD is a big reason for the airport’s phenomenal surge in airfreight activity. The airport also is home to the second-largest United Parcel Service air cargo sorting center in the nation.RFD spent $12 million in 2019 to expand its international cargo terminal from 72,000-square-feet to 200,000 square feet to accommodate Amazon’s cargo needs.

Amazon flies 10 Prime Air cargo jets in and out of RFD seven days a week, serving its distribution fulfillment centers in Aurora and Joliet, Illinois, and others in the Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin areas. 

Amazon said in December 2019 it is building a 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Beloit, Wisconsin, 29 miles north of RFD. It is expected to hire 500 workers by the time it opens in December.