London-based advanced air mobility (AAM) and uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) cargo specialist Skyports has announced a partnership with US aviation supplier and manufacturer Kencoa Aerospace to create drone delivery services to and from the South Korean island of Jeju.
Partnership aims to build island’s drone delivery services and AAM future
The memorandum of understanding between the two companies calls for preparation and construction of drone delivery operations between the Korean mainland and Jeju, which lies about 60 miles off shore. That will include developing AAM infrastructure and UAV networks that Skyports has made a major focus in its business, racking up several contracts around the world in the past year. Initially, critical supplies like medical products will be transported to Jeju, with that range diversifying into less essential and consumer goods as activity expands.
In addition to using its infrastructure and network experience, Skyports will delivery feasibility studies on the capabilities and benefits of operating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) services to and from Jeju. Meanwhile, the company will prospect the opportunities of constructing a vertiport dedicated to drone delivery services, and analyze the possibility of establishing eVTOL activity on the island.
“South Korea is ripe with opportunity in the advanced air mobility space, and Jeju Island’s specific volcanic and island geography provides a unique backdrop on which to demonstrate the benefits of drone logistics,” says Skyports CEO Duncan Walker. “With our BVLOS cargo drone operations, delivery services on the island will be up to six times faster, with carbon emissions reduced by up to 90%. Drone deliveries have the potential to totally transform services for residents and healthcare providers, and we’re excited to be amongst the first movers in South Korea – and globally.”
For its part, Georgia-based Kencoa will contribute its ongoing activity on Jeju in the development of its drone delivery services. The company has an established operational division on the island that will serve as the partnership’s headquarters. Through its presence on Jeju, Kencoa has gained valuable insight into the area’s nascent AAM ecosystem, its government administration, and labor forces that will all play a part in building drone-drive cargo services.
“Through this partnership with Skyports, a global technology leader in the AAM industry, we will commence drone deliveries in Jeju Province before establishing AAM infrastructure and expanding into the air taxi industry,” says Kenny Lee, Kencoa CEO. “Jeju’s excellent tourist resources will promote the commercialization of our AAM services. The strength of this partnership will enable the fastest commercial launch in Korea.”