Amazon kicks off 30 hours of Prime Day deals Monday at 9 p.m.

Amazon kicks off 30 hours of Prime Day deals Monday at 9 p.m.

CHARLOTTE, NC (Katherine Peralta/Charlotte Observer) - Now in its third year, Amazon's Prime Day starts this year at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. P.T., six hours earlier than in years past. The online shopping event now will run for 30 hours and will offer its Prime members special savings on thousands of items.

Also for the first time, Amazon is using its own "Prime Air" cargo planes to facilitate delivery of the high volume of Prime Day orders, the Seattle tech giant said in a statement Monday. Amazon unveiled its fleet of branded cargo plans last summer to speed up its deliveries, according to multiple reports, and Prime Air has a hub in Charlotte.

Amazon says new deals will be available as often as every five minutes. Prime members, who pay a $99 annual fee for perks like free two-day shipping and access to TV streaming, will find deals like an Amazon Echo for $89.99, representing a 50 percent savings, and 30 percent off Under Armour and Adidas apparel.

Experts say Prime Day is a way to boost sales during slower summer months. Amazon has said the day has been successful, though it has been criticized as having "unimpressive" deals, the AP reports.

Last month, Amazon launched its super-fast Prime Now for customers throughout the Charlotte area. The service promises deliveries in 1-2 hours. The service follows Amazon's expansion last year of its same-day delivery for Prime account holders in Charlotte.

"Our teams have been working for months to source exciting and interesting deals. Our fulfillment centers are loaded with products, our operations associates are ready and our transportation partners around the world are excitedly waiting for the first Prime Day order," said Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime.

Amazon has been growing its presence in the Charlotte area over the years. The company began expanding its receiving center on Old Dowd Road last summer, for example, and has been hiring at its distribution center in Concord, where it already employs hundreds.