UPS Flight Forward set to operate drone airline

By Sean Galea-Pace
UPS’s subsidiary UPS Flight Forward has announced its received the US g...

UPS’s subsidiary UPS Flight Forward has announced its received the US government’s first full Part 135 Standard certification to operate a drone airline.

Initially expanding its drone delivery service to further support hospital campuses across the country, UPS will transport a range of items for customers in many industries as well as flying drones beyond operator’s visual line of sight to provide solutions for customers beyond the healthcare industry.

Following the award of the UPS Flight Forward a Part 135 Standard certification on Friday (27 September), UPS Flight Forward launched the first drone delivery flight by any company under Part 135 Standard at WakeMed’s hospital campus in Raleigh, N.C. The flight was flown under government exemption which allowed for a “beyond visual line of sight” operation, which was the first in the US for a regular revenue-generating delivery which uses a Matternet M2 quadcopter.


“This is history in the making, and we aren’t done yet,” commented David Abney, UPS chief executive officer. “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.”

“This 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 to maintain American leadership in unmanned aviation,” added Elaine L. Chao, US Secretary of Transportation.     

Having established itself as a leader in unmanned aerial vehicle delivery, UPS has tested drones for urgent commercial deliveries over water, funded and supported humanitarian deliveries in Africa as well as tested non-urgent commercial residential delivery in rural areas where drones are launched from a UPS package delivery vehicle.


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