Skyports drones to take flight in Ireland after green light from IAA

4 Oct 2021

Image: Skyports

The UK company plans to expand its drone delivery service in the medical, maritime and logistics sectors across Europe.

Air mobility company Skyports has been granted a licence to test its remotely operated drones in Ireland.

The UK company received a Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC) from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), permitting the self-authorisation of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone flights.

Future Human

LUCs are recognised in all EU member states and give drone operators certain privileges, such as conducting flights without first obtaining authorisation from aviation authorities. When an 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.

“The LUC creates new opportunities for Skyports in Europe – one of our key markets,” Skyports CEO Duncan Walker said. “Obtaining certification is a landmark moment for our drone delivery business that will enable us to deploy our service more efficiently and meet our customers’ needs more quickly.”

European expansion

The London-based company has previously used its fleet of drones in Scotland to carry Covid-19 samples and test kits, and has also operated an inter-island medical drone delivery service between the Isles of Scilly off the south-west coast of England for Royal Mail.

Skyports now intends to expand its services in the medical, maritime and logistics across Europe.

“This is an exciting development for the European drone sector – in this case providing Skyports with groundbreaking access to a European market of 500m potential customers,” Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, CEO designate of the IAA,  said.

“Drone services are an increasingly important part of the commercial aviation landscape and provide a competitive alternative to traditional service delivery.”

Backed by former Ryanair CEO Declan Ryan’s Irelandia Aviation, Skyports develops infrastructure for passenger air taxis and drone delivery services. It announced a multimillion euro investment earlier this year to establish a base at Shannon’s new Future Mobility Campus Ireland.

Skyports said today (4 October) that FedEx Express began a collaboration with the Future Mobility Campus last week. A last-mile drone delivery flight, conducted by Skyports, was tested between Shannon Airport and Foynes Port.

The delivery is part of a month-long trial that will see a number of test flights conducted in Ireland’s mid-west region with BVLOS technology.

In May, the IAA issued its first LUC to Irish drone delivery start-up Manna following trials of its drone delivery services in the west of Ireland.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com