Ameriflight enters the drone era

Ameriflight has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to operate drones, the largest existing Part 135 cargo airline to do so, says the Dallas-based operator.

It allows Ameriflight to conduct drone operations under its current Part 119 Air Carrier Certificate for Part 135 operations.

It also gives approval to add the large Matternet M2 drone to its fleet, enabling the launch of a large-scale drone operation, the company added

Ameriflight intends to use the Matternet M2 drone for commercial cargo, focusing on health care and e-commerce deliveries to customers in dense urban and suburban environments across the US.

It will use Matternet’s software platform from a central remote Network Operations Centre allowing it to expand its network, while maintaining a high level of pilot operator supervision and flexibility.

However, Ameriflight intends uncrewed aircraft to be a supplement, not a replacement for its human pilots.

President and chief executive Alan Rusinowitz said: “Adding this state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly aircraft and launching our unmanned aircraft division allows us to expand our service offerings to off-airport alternative sites for time-sensitive small package needs.

“Matternet’s technology is at the forefront of autonomous innovation and provides a revolutionary solution for customers. We’re looking forward to launching our first M2 flights very soon, and, as we move forward into future flight, developing additional areas of drone delivery.”

Ameriflight owner and chairman Jim Martell added: “Our newly operative UAS division allows us to expand into a largely untapped delivery market with a lot of room for speed and safety logistic improvements.”

Matternet co-founder and chief executive Andreas Raptopoulos, said: “This partnership enables us to offer our customers turnkey access to fast and reliable on-demand delivery capabilities today. This is not a test program or a future deployment concept – this is the real, scalable, and safe drone-based solution that customers are looking for.”

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