Wing shifts operation model in Australia

Things are moving ahead for drone logistics company Wing, Down Under.

During a time at which the Alphabet subsidiary announced that it was changing its modus operandi – from owning warehouses to setting drone bases at major shopping centres Australia (a development that has seen the company ditch its Canberra operations) – it has also announced that it would be expanding its operations in Queensland; teaming up with DoorDash and the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) to launch a new drone hub at the Hyperdome shopping centre.

The Hyperdome facility will expand Wing’s sphere of influence from nine suburbs to seventeen as the company ramps up its focus on growing demand in the region.

Wing spokesman Jesse Suskin says the addition of Hyperdome in Logan City to the company’s existing drone hubs at Vicinity Centres’ Grand Plaza at Browns Plains and Mirvac Group’s Orion Springfield Central are part of a new strategy to partner with retail centres to extend its reach in the region.

“When we first started, we had our own launching facilities, which was great and worked very well, but for merchants it meant that they had to co-locate in our centres,” Suskin told Business News Australia.

“We are now shifting to a format where we put the drones at shopping centres, working with property companies such as QIC to position drones in underutilised real estate.

“At Hyperdome, we have located our drones in an underutilised loading dock from where they will deliver for merchants at the centre which will provide access to drone delivery services for more people.”

Claiming that the new drone hub had opened opportunities to a ‘wide swath’ of south-east Queensland, Suskin pointed out that drone deliveries are becoming popular for more than just fast food.

“A lot of our customers are families with two working parents who don’t have a lot of time. Where we do really well is for people who don’t live within walking distance of the shopping centres.

“They might have a fifteen to twenty-minute drive to the shopping centre to grab a quick item, but because our drones fly at very fast rate, we can get an item to a customer in a few minutes.”

Suskin says drone deliveries helped reduce the number of car trips and benefitted retail property owners by freeing up space for customers making longer shopping visits.

“It’s a great way for us to demonstrate the benefits of drone delivery and it’s great to working with DoorDash because it is a very streamlined marketplace,” he said.

While food is among the top products delivered by DoorDash, the service is facilitating services for a range of retailers.

“We are starting with a few merchants (at Hyperdome) and over the next weeks and months will add more,” Suskin says.

While Sukin concedes the popularity of drone delivery services, which are regulated by CASA, has brought more competitors to the market, Wing is still keen to expand its operations in Australia.

The US-based Wing, which has an extensive workforce in Australia, currently provides non-consumer services in the ACT where it launched its first drone delivery operations in 2019.

The company recently ceased food delivery services in Canberra – and no; it was not because the ravens protested the drones’ presence in 2021.

Wing cited failure to find a suitable retail centre with which to partner as the only reason why they had to shut up shop and move out of a place they had called home for five years.

“Over the years, as we’ve been operating more and growing more, we’ve shifted our (operating) model from flying drones from our own facilities,” Suskin said of their Canberra operation.

“In Canberra, we had a warehouse in Mitchell, where the drones were taking off and landing and where merchants co-located their products with us. Now, we just put the drones at major shopping centres.”

Suskin said a suitable Canberra shopping centre hasn’t been identified yet that would fit the company’s new way of operating.


Leave a Comment


Welcome! Login in to your account

Remember me Lost your password?

Lost Password