Home » Breaking News » Shannon testing paves the way for drone deliveries
REPRO FREE 011021 Skyports, the world-leading operator of cargo drone deliveries and advanced air mobility infrastructure will formally receive a first-in-EU Light UAS Operator Certificate from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), which allows for the first time Beyond Visual Line of Sight drone operations. The certificate will be handed over to Skyports by the Irish Aviation Regulator, Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, allowing for the first time in the EU, remotely operated drone flights. Pictured L-R are Irish Aviation Regulator, Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, Mary Considine, the CEO of Shannon Group and Duncan Walker, the CEO of Skyports. Pic Arthur Ellis.

Shannon testing paves the way for drone deliveries

A WORLD leading operator of cargo drone deliveries hopes to begin operating commerical deliveries from Shannon in the near future.
SkyPorts has been running test flights from Shannon for a number of weeks after receiving a Light UAS Operator Certificate from the Irish Aviation Authority, the first one issued in the EU.
The drones have been flying across the Shannon estuary over and back to Foynes of late, after the company received the cert, allowing for Beyond Visual Line of Sight drone operations.
Already the company uses drones to make commercial and medical deliveries in the UK and in Singapore, and it’s expected that the same thing will happen from Shannon quite soon.
Duncan Walker, CEO of SkyPorts said that testing at Shannon has gone well.
“We’ve been flying pretty much every day for the past couple of weeks,” he told The Champion. “It’s been great, we’ve had some robust conditions, and it’s been going very, very well. It’s a new thing for us in that we’re in controlled airspace, we’ve been flying in uncontrolled airspace up in Scotland earlier this year.
“This is a really interesting experience because we’re working with air traffic control adjacent to the airport day in, day out, it’s been a great experience for us.”
He said that in the UK his company already has clients such as the Royal Mail, the National Health Service and FedEX.
“There’s a huge scope to what we can do with these things, delivering medical items, delivering packages, remote inspection. There is lots and lots of opportunity, it is commercial already today, now it’s about scale-up,” he said.
On the next steps for the company at Shannon, he said, there are plans for a more permanent base that are due to be determined in the next week or so which would move them into the next phase of operations, which, he said, was “all about scale up”.
Mr Walker said that there have been discussions with potential clients and commercial operations could be happening in Shannon within a few weeks.
“The technology is there, the regulation is there now. We have to find the clients and work out what is required.
“We’ve proved that it works now, which is great, now it’s working with logistics and medical companies, saying, ‘right, we have this network available, how does it affect your supply chain, how can we help you in real life’.
“We need to solve real life problems, there’s no point doing it in the abstract.”
Shannon Group Chief Executive Mary Considine was at last Friday’s formal presentation of the EU Light UAS Operator Certificate and she said she was delighted with what is happening.
“We are testing this technology and there is huge potential for the future. It’s a unique opportunity for Shannon, we have a history of innovation, many firsts, and this is another one. We’re delighted to be a part of it, all of the partners have really rowed in to make it possible.”
The presentation happened in an area across the road from Starbucks, close to the airport, and Ms Considine said there may be a permanent vertiport one day.
“Our vision is that you’d have a permanent Vertiport here that people are using. Not only for their last mile of delivery or beyond visual line of sight, but it becomes the mobility of the future. Rather than taking taxis we’ll be taking drones.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.
error: Content is protected !!