Kenya Airways partner Skyports to launch drone services
London, UNITED KINGDOM – Airline company Kenya Airways has signed a memorandum of Understanding with British advanced air mobility (AAM) company Skyports, which will see the two exploring the possibility of launching permanent drone operations in the east African country.
Joint operations have already begun across drone delivery and inspection use cases.
As an AAM infrastructure provider delivery drone operator, Skyports secures, designs, builds, owns and operates passenger and cargo vertiports enabling safe and efficient flight operations within urban and suburban environments. It also develops, implements, and operates end-to-end drone deliveries that have of late overcome most problems associated with traditional transportation methods.
In a statement, the company says their collaboration with the Kenyan flag career brings together Kenya Airways’ significant expertise in aviation services and Skyports’ fine drone delivery logistics service – Delivery by Skyports. In the coming three months, the aim of the partnership is to explore the commercial viability and impact of a variety of medical, logistical and inspection use cases alongside Kenya’s leading public and private institutions.
The first drone delivery flights are scheduled to have started by the fourth quarter of this year.
“Aligning with our purpose of the sustainable development of Africa, this partnership with Skyports will support our diversification plans in drone technology application,” said Allan Kilavuka, CEO at Kenya Airways. “This will give us access to available equipment and established operations that will lay the foundation for the Kenyan and regional drone market through our drone and emerging aviation technology subsidiary, Fahari Aviation.”
Skyports has already had solid operational experience with beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) back in its home country, the United Kingdom, which puts it in good stead to support Kenya Airways’ foray into drone operations. Skyports obtained regulatory approvals to fly the UK’s first BVLOS medical drone deliveries for the National Health Service (NHS), with operations currently under way.
Similarly, Skyports operated the UK Royal Mail’s first drone parcel delivery in Scotland last December.
The partnership seeks to consolidate Kenya Airways’ position as a leader in unmanned aviation technology; offering training, operations and traffic management services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Fahari aviation.
“Our partnership with Kenya Airways can unlock significant opportunities for drone deliveries and inspections in Kenya,” Skyports’ CEO, Duncan Walker, said. “This will create time and cost savings for our customers and contribute to the growth of the country’s tech and aviation ecosystem. This important partnership underscores the growth potential of Skyports’ tech-agnostic operator approach as a flexible offering which is suited to varying global market requirements. We look forward to working with Kenya Airways and to further demonstrate the viability of AAM in different geographies.”