Skyports receives first-in-EU Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC) to allow for BVLOS from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), enabling self-authorisation of UAS drone flights.
Skyports, the world-leading operator of cargo drone deliveries and advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure, has obtained a Light UAS Operator Certificate from the Irish Aviation Authority, permitting the self-authorisation of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights. This is the first such certificate issued by an EU regulator.
The LUC is recognised in all European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) member countries allowing UAS 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 globally that have been granted the certification to date after demonstrating to the regulator that as an organisation it is capable of assessing the risk of an operation itself.
As an LUC holder, Skyports will be able to expand its proven drone delivery service within the medical, maritime and logistics sectors across Europe, building on recent high-profile successes most notably in the UK.
Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports, said: “The Light UAS 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.”
Speaking at the issuance of the Certificate, the Aviation Regulator / CEO Designate of the IAA, Mr. 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. The is an exciting development for the European drone sector; in this case providing Skyports with ground-breaking access to a European market of 500 million potential customers.
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.”
Skyports’ drone delivery services have experienced great success in the UK and other locations. Projects include the UK’s first COVID-19 test drone delivery service in Scotland with the NHS as well as the operation of an inter-island medical drone delivery service between the Isles of Scilly for Royal Mail.
In preparation of its application for the LUC, Skyports worked with Julie Garland, chief executive of Ireland-based Avtrain, one of Europe’s leading drone training and certification organisations, who provided support on the documentation and provided EASA certification of Skyports’ pilots.
Early 2021 Skyports extended a Series A funding with Irelandia Aviation investment, bringing its total capital raised to £6m. Irelandia Aviation has invested £650,000 into the venture funding round first established in December last year. The original round totalled £5.4m and was led by Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures and Groupe ADP.
Skyports intends to use the proceeds to acquire new sites, including expanding its presence in its target markets Singapore and Los Angeles. It also plans to add more staff to its urban and rural drone-delivery teams.