Advanced air mobility (AAM) company Skyports has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the flag carrier airline of Kenya, Kenya Airways, to collaborate on launching permanent unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations in the country. Joint efforts have already begun across drone delivery and inspection use cases.
This collaboration brings together Kenya Airways’ significant expertise in aviation services and Skyports’ drone delivery logistics service – Delivery by Skyports. In the coming three months, the aim of the partnership is to explore the commercial viability and impact of a variety of medical, logistical and inspection use cases alongside Kenya’s leading public and private institutions. The target for the launch of the first drone delivery flights is Q3-Q4 2021.
Allan Kilavuka, chief executive officer at Kenya Airways, said: “Aligning with our purpose of the sustainable development of Africa, this partnership with Skyports will support our diversification plans in drone technology application. This will give us access to available equipment and established operations that will lay the foundation for the Kenyan and regional drone market through our drone and emerging aviation technology subsidiary, Fahari Aviation.”
Duncan Walker, chief executive officer at Skyports, said: “Our partnership with Kenya Airways can unlock significant opportunities for drone deliveries and inspections in Kenya. This will create time and cost savings for our customers and contribute to the growth of the country’s tech and aviation ecosystem. This important partnership underscores the growth potential of Skyports’ tech-agnostic operator approach as a flexible offering which is suited to varying global market requirements. We look forward to working with Kenya Airways and to further demonstrate the viability of AAM in different geographies.”
Skyports’ beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operational experience places the company in a unique position to support Kenya Airways. Skyports has obtained regulatory approvals to fly the UK’s first BVLOS medical drone deliveries for the National Health Service (NHS), with operations currently under way. Similarly, Skyports operated the UK Royal Mail’s first drone parcel delivery in Scotland in December 2020.
As a leading air services provider on the continent, Kenya Airways seeks to lead the application of drone technology in the region. This will see one of Africa’s leading carriers offer training, operations and traffic management services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Fahari aviation.