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Amazon cuts staff in drone project

Amazon cuts staff in drone project
An Amazon Prime Air Flying Drone is displayed during the ‘Drones: Is the Sky the Limit?’ exhibition at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, U.S., May 9, 2017. (Reuters)

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Share Inc. said on Thursday it had laid off dozens of staff working on the e-commerce giant’s delivery drone project as part of a reorganisation of the team.

The U.S. retailer has been working on a plan to deliver goods to millions of its customers by using a fleet of unmanned drones, and had received federal approval in August to begin testing commercial deliveries in the country.

“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,” Amazon spokeswoman Kristen Kish said in a statement, without providing a number on how many employees will be sacked.

Kish said the company was working to find roles for the affected employees “in the areas where we are hiring”.

The company had laid off R&D and manufacturing staff from Amazon Prime Air project and had reached tentative deals with two external manufacturers – Austria’s FACC Aerospace and Spain’s Aernnova Aerospace – to build components for its long-awaited drone, the Financial Times reported.

The full terms of the agreements with the manufacturers were still being finalised, the FT report said, citing a person familiar with Amazon’s plans.

Aernnova and FACC did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. (Reuters)