UPS has received the U.S. government’s first full Part 135 Standard certification to operate a drone airline.
The company will initially expand its drone delivery service further to support hospital campuses around the country, and to provide solutions for customers beyond those in the healthcare industry.
UPS Flight Forward says it plans in the future to transport a variety of items for customers in many industries, and regularly fly drones beyond the operators’ visual line of sight.
The FAA awarded UPS Flight Forward a Part 135 Standard certification on Friday.
The UPS subsidiary immediately launched the first drone delivery flight by any company under Part 135 Standard at WakeMed’s hospital campus in Raleigh, N.C.
That flight, using a Matternet M2 quadcopter, was flown under a government exemption allowing for a BVLOS operation, also a first in the U.S. for a regular revenue-generating delivery.
David Abney, UPS CEO, commented: “This is history in the making, and we aren’t done yet. Our technology is opening doors for UPS and solving problems in unique ways for our customers. We will soon announce other steps to build out our infrastructure, expand services for healthcare customers and put drones to new uses in the future.”
Adding: “UPS Flight Forward is benefitting from our knowledge as one of the world’s leading airlines. The Flight Forward organization is building a full-scale drone operation based on the rigorous reliability, safety, and control requirements of the FAA.”