UPS Gets FAA Approval for Drone Airline
US shipper United Parcel Service has received FAA approval to operate a drone airline for commercial package delivery.
Matternet M2 quadcopter
UPS unit Flight Forward said it has received the first full Part 135 Standard from the Federal Aviation Administration, and will now expand its drone delivery service to support hospital campuses around the US.
“This is history in the making, and we aren’t done yet,” UPS chief executive David Abney said. “Our technology is opening doors for UPS and solving problems in unique ways for our customers. We will soon announce other steps to build out our infrastructure, expand services for healthcare customers and put drones to new uses in the future.”
The FAA certification allows the company to fly an unlimited number of drones with an unlimited number of remote operators on flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
Flight Forward made its first drone flight under the certification at the WakeMed hospital campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company said the flight was operated under a government exemption allowing for BVLOS operation.
US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said the certification “is a big step forward in safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace, expanding access to healthcare in North Carolina and building on the success of the national UAS Integration Pilot Program.”