Amazon lays off dozens of employees working on its long-awaited drone project

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Amazon.com Inc Thursday announced it had laid off dozens of employees working on its delivery drone project Amazon Prime Air, turning to external manufacturers to help build the devices instead.

“We are reorganizing 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 affected employees were its Research and Development employees as well as manufacturing employees working on the drone project.

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The tech giant has reached tentative deals with Austria’s FACC Aerospace and Spain’s Aernnova Aerospace to manufacture components for its Amazon Prime Air, the Financial Times reported

FACC and Aernnova specialize in manufacturing aircraft components for the aviation industry. Some of their clients include Airbus, Boeing, and Bombardier.

The full terms of the deal with the manufacturers are yet to be finalized, according to Financial Times, citing a person familiar with the plan.

Last year, Amazon sent out a “request for proposal” to multiple companies, meaning additional deals with other manufacturers could also be reached soon, sources said.

Amazon has been working on the delivery drone since 2013. It plans to use the drones to deliver goods weighing up to five pounds in under 30 minutes to its millions of customers. The company received U.S approval in August to begin testing commercial deliveries in the country.

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