Amazon’s drone delivery division was reportedly hit hard by layoffs

Earlier this month, Amazon confirmed plans to lay off about 18,000 employees. The move hit certain divisions hard, such as Comixology and Prime Air. The latter’s drone delivery program was just beginning to gain traction after launching deliveries in a test market and unveiling new models, but the layoffs reportedly had a major impact on that team.

Prime Air employees learned about the cuts on Wednesday, according to the company. CNBCEmployees in the design, maintenance, systems engineering, flight testing and flight operations teams of the drone delivery division are said to have been laid off. Workers were allegedly laid off in multiple locations, including Amazon’s Seattle headquarters and a drone test facility in Oregon. About half of the test site’s employees have reportedly been laid off.

Job cuts were seemingly expected given the many struggles the drone delivery group has endured over the years. In 2013, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced plans to start delivering packages by drone within 30 minutes. After years of testing, the company received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration in 2020 to start delivering orders by drone. Amazon launched this in Rockford, CA and College Station, TX just a few weeks ago.

the spokesman refused to speak CNBC Number of Prime Air employees let go by Amazon. The personnel cuts come just two months after the company unveiled a redesigned drone that can fly farther and withstand light rain than its predecessor.

In recent months, Amazon executives laid off employees in hardware, Alexa, robotics, and brick-and-mortar departments. CEO Andy Jassy said in his early January that the company “prioritizes what matters most to our customers and the long-term health of our business.”

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