Drone operator Manna Aero first in Ireland to receive IAA certificate

21 May 2021

Image: Manna Aero

The certificate is recognised in all EU member states and will allow the drone operator to self-authorise certain operations.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has issued its first light uncrewed aircraft operator certificate (LUC) to drone delivery firm Manna Aero.

The Irish start-up was the first company to apply for a LUC, following recent trials of its drone delivery services in the west of Ireland.

The successful application follows a rigorous assessment of the company’s operational capabilities in line with the new EU drone regulations, which came into force at the start of the year.

The certificate is recognised in all EU member states and gives drone operators certain privileges, such as self-authorising operations without applying for additional authorisation.

When a LUC applicant has demonstrated certain necessary capabilities, the IAA can issue the certificate and assign privileges to the drone operators based on their level of maturity.

Aviation regulator Diarmuid Ó Conghaile said the certificate will give Manna access to a potential European market of more than half a billion customers.

“Drone services are an important part of the green technology mix in Europe and provide a competitive alternative to traditional service delivery,” he said.

“Our ambition for the new IAA is to facilitate [uncrewed aircraft system] innovation and competitiveness with the highest safety and security standards, ultimately providing benefits to consumers at the end of the supply chain.”

Manna CEO Bobby Healy added: “This achievement marks the culmination of our two-year engagement with the IAA and is a strong endorsement for Manna, the nascent European drone delivery industry, and Ireland as a tech epicentre for drone technology.”

The drone delivery start-up has been building a strong reputation in recent years. Last month, it secured $25m in funding to help it expand beyond its testing phases.

Its has secured food delivery partnerships with Just Eat and Tesco, as well as tests delivering pharmacy prescriptions and most recently with Samsung to deliver smartphones. The drones can carry loads up to 3kg.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic