Amazon reduces the size of its delivery drone team

It will partner with outside agencies as it tries to make the system ready to go.

Jordan Stead / Amazon

Amazon has confirmed that it is laying off a number of people working on its internal drone delivery project. The Financial Times reported that the mega-retailer had opted to shrink its internal team in favor of using external contractors to complete the work. The report’s anonymous sources said that executives were frustrated at the speed of progress, leading to the change in strategy.

The first two companies to sign up are FACC Aerospace from Austria and Aernnova Aerospace from Spain, which are both component manufacturers. Reportedly, other businesses are expected to sign up in the near future, as Amazon tries to push Prime Air closer to reality. That project will see drones deposit small Amazon packages on people’s front yards, which it has been using in its advertising for several years.

Spokesperson Kristen Kish told the FT and TechCrunch that the layoffs were part of regular business operations, and that it affects only a single team. Kish added that affected people are being offered roles at other parts of Amazon’s business that “best match their experience and needs.” Earlier this year, the FAA granted approval for Amazon to begin testing its concept, as it races to keep pace with rivals like Walmart.