What Is Prime Air? (How Will It Work, Is It Safe + More)

Shopping on Amazon is made even easier with Amazon Prime, the wildly popular subscription program offering premium services like free two-day delivery and exclusive discounts.

Whether you’re an avid Amazon shopper, or just eager to learn more about Prime, you may be wondering: what is Prime Air? If you’d like to find out, keep reading for more facts!

What Is Prime Air In 2024?

Prime Air is Amazon’s drone delivery service, which hasn’t launched yet as planning and development continues in 2024. It was first announced in 2016 and will involve small drones delivering packages weighing up to five pounds in just 30 minutes. Prime Air is part of Amazon’s commitment to rapid parcel delivery for a satisfactory customer experience.

If you want to know more about Prime Air, including how this drone delivery technology will work and the latest developments, then keep reading to learn more!

How Will Prime Air Work?

While Prime Air has not officially started as of 2024, Amazon has publicly announced intentions to start drone delivery within the next few years.

After Prime Air was founded in 2016, Amazon intended to begin service in select cities by the end of 2019.

However, those plans were delayed for further planning and product development.

When Prime Air does take off, it’s set to transform the way Amazon delivers packages, with fully autonomous delivery in as little as 13 minutes, no pilot required.

According to Amazon, the option for Prime Air 30-minute delivery will appear as a yellow button just above the add to cart button for eligible items and orders.

The package itself will appear beneath the drone, protected in a durable safety container to ensure efficient deliveries and excellent customer service.

As outlined on the official Amazon Prime Air page, this future delivery system is designed to enhance existing Amazon delivery by offering a faster way to drop off packages.

Although, of course, Amazon will still use its huge fleet of delivery trucks, high-tech drones will support greater flexibility as the e-commerce giant moves forward in its next stage of innovation.

Is Amazon Prime Air Safe?

While autonomous aerial vehicles have taken off in recent years, the use of drones for consumer deliveries is very new.

Therefore, this is why Amazon is going to great lengths to ensure the safety of its new delivery technology.

Amazon drones are being built with sense and technology to avoid collisions.

As well, the systematic development of these drones is meant to ensure the utmost safety standards.

In addition to the high-level operating guidelines, the Federal Aviation Administration granted Amazon a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate in August 2020.

This certification is essentially the FAA’s tick of approval for Amazon’s autonomous delivery service, which the company hopes to implement not just in the U.S. but around the world.

By limiting deliveries to five pounds or less, Amazon will ensure the small drones can handle the capacity and get deliveries to the intended destination within 30 minutes.

What Will Prime Air Vehicles Look Like?

What Will Prime Air Vehicles Look Like?

Amazon says it’s testing a variety of vehicle designs to determine the best delivery methods in both cities and more rural areas, and the drone design will keep evolving over the years.

The company lists safety, efficiency, and stability as the core considerations in its latest drone design, which is featured in a series of videos offering a closer look at the future of Prime Air.

As seen in these previews, Prime Air drones will have a square shape with four legs and Amazon branding across the top.

Beneath the protective covering will be a secure section that fits a durable container for the item, which could be anything from books to jewelry, makeup to grocery items, and much more.

Also, Amazon completed a range of tests in Cambridge, England, to ensure the entire drone delivery process runs smoothly.

This includes a patented storage solution, closely resembling a beehive, which will house the drones and make it easier for Amazon to expand operations.

Amazon fulfillment centers may need to be updated to better accommodate drone delivery operations, which is something the company is currently working on.

When Will Prime Air Start?

For now, Amazon customers have to stick with standard delivery options rather than quick drone drop-offs.

This usually isn’t a problem, given Amazon’s extensive logistics network.

Prime shoppers can get deliveries within one or two days, if not sooner, depending on where they live and what they buy.

While Amazon originally intended to have Prime Air drone deliveries up and running before 2020, these plans were pushed back as development continued.

Amazon hasn’t provided a new update on when Prime Air will begin.

However, it’s evident that the company remains committed to drone technology and plans to launch in the coming years.

The company says it’s actively testing drones, and will make an announcement when it’s time to scale operations and start delivering packages.

One more important distinction is the difference between Prime Air drone delivery and Amazon Air, the cargo airline that only transports Amazon packages.

Amazon Air was previously known as Prime Air, but the name was changed in 2017, as Amazon dedicated Prime Air to its drone delivery plans instead.

To know more, you can also see our posts on whether or not Amazon uses drones, what is the Amazon Prime shipping club, and if Amazon offers overnight shipping.


Prime Air is Amazon’s drone delivery service, currently in development, that will one day drop off packages up to five pounds within 30 minutes of ordering.

Although there are some concerns about automated drone deliveries taking away jobs, Amazon is excited about the potential of this technology and the company will still have a workforce of over a million people and growing.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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