London-based advanced air mobility (AAM) specialist Skyports is broadening its COVID-fighting medical services partnership with Australian logistics company Swoop Aero to establish drone delivery networks across Europe and the Americas.
Deal extends initial UK Covid-fighting medical delivery partnership to wide-ranging goods
The move is significant in the development of both businesses. It marks a major step forward in the drone delivery activities of Skyports, which in recent months has made most of its headlines through deals to build AAM infrastructure and promote approaching air taxi services around the world. Its expanded partnership with Swoop Aero, therefore, not only promises to rapidly nurture the delivery activities Skyports had also established, but also provide its Australian associate a ready-made network in which its new line of fixed-wing Kite drones can operate.
The deal also has the attraction of expanding an existing relationship, and avoiding the inevitable kinks that need to be worked out in new link-ups. The companies first joined forces in late 2020 to assist the UK’s National Health Service in its COVID-19 battle, flying Swoop Aero drones to deliver medical supplies within Skyports’ existing network.
The combination of Skyports’ infrastructure strength and Swoop Aero’s long-flying drones quickly created a robust delivery network that particularly excelled in serving remote destinations. For example, the collaboration cut transport times of medical supplies to Scotland’s Highlands and islands from two days by conventional options, to just 30 minutes. During the UK’s second COVID wave alone, the partners saved over 11,000 hours of waiting time and made over 422 beyond visual line of sight flights, covering a total 14,000 km.
Broadening a UK drone delivery network to Europe and the Americas
The duo now plans to deepen and broaden that service as the next-generation alternative to traditional logistics and transport services, extending them across Europe and the Americas as they grow.
“Our collaboration with Swoop Aero has been instrumental to our drone delivery operations, which are helping to connect people in even the most remote geographies,” said Skyports CEO Duncan Walker. “The extension of this partnership not only demonstrates our commitment to improving medical logistics and access to healthcare around the world, but it also highlights the work we’re doing to make drone deliveries a commercial, scalable reality. The American and European markets have demonstrated huge appetite for drone delivery services, and we’re thrilled to be leading the revolution.”
The partnership makes Skyports the first company to operate Swoop Aero’s Kite drones, which can transport up to 5 kg payloads at maximum over 130 km at maximum speeds of 200 kmh. As part of their broadened relationship, Skyports will assist Swoop Aero through both European Aviation Safety Agency and US Federal Aviation Administration certification of Kite craft.
“Swoop Aero was founded to transform the way the world moves by making access to the skies seamless,” said Eric Peck, CEO of Swoop Aero. “We’re so excited to continue to work with Skyports in new markets across Europe and the Americas… and continuing to work towards Swoop Aero’s goal to provide 100 million people with access to sustainable drone networks by 2025.”