Drone Certification TestIAA clears test flights for delivery drones in Irish skies

October 1, 2021by helo-10

The Irish Aviation Authority has cleared the way for test flights of an unmanned or pilotless drone delivery service in Ireland.

Skyports, which is among the frontrunners in the field of cargo drone deliveries, has obtained a Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC) from the Irish Aviation Authority.

This will permit it the ability to self-authorise beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone flights and will be the first such certificate issued by an EU regulator.

This development will potentially have huge benefits down the line for such areas as medical, maritime and logistics sectors, with Skyports looking to build on recent high-profile successes in the UK.

This includes projects such as the UK’s first Covid-19 test drone delivery service in Scotland, for the NHS, and the operation of an inter-island medical drone delivery service between the Isles of Scilly for Royal Mail.

The LUC is recognised in all European Union Aviation Safety Agency  member countries. It allows Unmanned Aircraft Systems operators to conduct flights without first submitting a declaration or obtaining authorisation from aviation authorities beforehand.

Skyports is one of a handful of drone operators in the world that has this clearance, after demonstrating to the regulator that as an organisation it is capable of assessing the risk of an operation itself.

Duncan Walker, chief executive of Skyports, said: “The Light Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operator Certificate creates new opportunities for Skyports in Europe – one of our key markets. 

Obtaining certification is a landmark moment for our drone delivery business that will enable us to deploy our service more efficiently and meet our customers’ needs more quickly.

“Receipt of an LUC is also an enormous privilege for us as a safety organisation and reflects our commitment to achieving the very highest safety standards wherever we operate,” he added.

Speaking at the issuance of the certificate, the Aviation Regulator and chief executive designate of the Irish Aviation Authority Diarmuid Ó Conghaile commented on the significance of this latest development in the fastest growing segment of the aviation industry.

“We are delighted to be the first regulator in the EU to issue a beyond visual line of sight Light UAS Operator Certificate,” said Mr Ó Conghaile.

“The is an exciting development for the European drone sector, in this case providing Skyports with ground-breaking access to a European market of 500m potential customers,” he added.

According to Mr Ó Conghaile, drone services are an increasingly important part of the commercial aviation landscape and provide a competitive alternative to traditional service delivery.

“We look forward to working with the industry to facilitate UAS innovation and competitiveness with the highest safety and security standards, ultimately providing benefits to consumers,” he added.

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