Amazon’s drone delivery division experiences significant workforce reduction as layoffs take place

Amazon, one of the world’s largest online retailers, recently announced plans to lay off around 18,000 employees, impacting multiple divisions within the company, including Comixology and Prime Air. Prime Air, the company’s drone delivery program, which was just starting to gain traction, having recently begun deliveries in test markets and unveiling a new model, has been hit particularly hard by the layoffs.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Prime Air employees were informed of the cuts on Wednesday, through emails from two senior Amazon executives. The layoffs took place across multiple sites, including the company’s headquarters in Seattle and its drone test site in Pendleton, Oregon, where half of the team was let go, as reported by one Prime Air employee in a LinkedIn post that was later deleted.

Despite the recent developments, it’s important to note that the Prime Air division has faced numerous challenges over the years since its launch in 2013, when Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, announced a plan to start delivering packages by drone within 30 minutes. Despite years of testing, the company only received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to start delivering orders by drone in 2020, and just weeks ago, Amazon began delivering packages using drones in test markets in California and Texas.

It’s also worth noting that the drone delivery industry as a whole is still in its early stages and faces numerous obstacles such as regulatory challenges, safety concerns, and technical limitations. Additionally, the current economic climate and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies, including Amazon, to make difficult decisions to ensure the long-term health of their businesses.

In recent months, Amazon has laid off workers from various divisions, including hardware, Alexa, robotics and physical stores. In a statement, CEO Andy Jassy said that the company is “prioritizing what matters most to customers and the long-term health of our businesses.”

In conclusion, the layoffs at Amazon’s Prime Air division, while significant, are a part of the company’s broader efforts to adapt to the current economic climate and ensure the long-term health of its business. The drone delivery industry as a whole still faces many challenges and it’s important to consider the bigger picture in understanding the impact of these layoffs.

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