Sparrow drone takes off from Edmonton Airport, Canada
A Sparrow drone from Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) took off from Edmonton International Airport (EIA) to a site in Leduc County - a first for drone delivery operation from within an airport in Canada.
Airports in Canada are highly restricted and drone activities are forbidden without proper authorisation.
The airport and DDC have been working for months with NAV CANADA, a privately run, not-for-profit corporation that owns and operates Canada's civil air navigation system, to create new approvals and safety procedures to make this and future flights possible, and this project was the first approval by NAV CANADA, according to an official release from EIA.
“At EIA our mandate is to support economic growth and diversification in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region,” said Myron Keehn, Vice-President, Air Service and Business Development, EIA. “Our national leadership in integrating drone technologies at an airport is giving birth to a new sector in drone logistics. The integration of these sustainable technologies is the precursor to the enablement of advanced air mobility, and it lowers barriers for the movement of goods and in the future, people. Congratulations to all the partners involved in this ground-breaking event and who strive for an innovative future of drone operations.”
DDC in July was granted a domestic cargo license under the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) and Air Transport Regulations (Canada) by the Canadian Transportation Agency. The company also announced an agreement with EIA, Apple Express Courier Ltd and Ziing Final Mile in July and the sparrow drone is the first project under the agreement. and in December, EIA announces a partnership with DDC to fly a sparrow drone for cargo deliveries.
The Sparrow drone will soon be carrying commercial cargo packages on behalf of clients like Ziing Final Mile and Apple Express. Air Canada Cargo is operating as the official agent for DDC. This is for the first time that DDC will be working with courier companies.
Michael Zahra, president and CEO of DDC, said: “We are honoured to be working with all parties to bring meaningful value to stakeholders using our patented drone delivery solution. We are entering a unique time in transportation history as we move towards a future that suggests an entirely new landscape of opportunities for the global supply chain. To our knowledge, this is the first drone delivery project at a large-scale international airport anywhere in Canada. As an award-winning global leader, we are pleased with our continued technological and commercial successes in the drone delivery industry.”
The initial flights are expected to create the template for future operations that will deliver into populated areas like Edmonton or other major centres as well as indigenous and Northern communities, the statement from EIA added.
“To ensure public safety, some of the restrictions on drone flights include that it cannot fly over populated areas, and its flying height is limited. As the project continues to be tested and further safety requirements are met, the goal is to conduct longer flights that can become delivery flight paths.”
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