Dronamics reveals plans for first five European droneports

By Damian Brett

Dronamics has revealed which five European airports it will use as bases for cargo drone operations.

Rather than offering final mile delivery, the “middle-mile” drone developer aims to connect its “droneports” in Europe with same-day services using its Black Swan cargo drones, which are capable of carrying 350 kg and have a range of up to 2,500 kms.

The first five airports in the network are: Liège Airport, which serves as Alibaba’s European Hub and Brescia Airport, the national hub for the Italian postal system, as well as Skövde (Sweden), Seinäjoki (Finland) and Osijek (Croatia).

It has plans to add another 30 droneports to the network in the future.

The launch of the network comes as the European Union’s (EU) unified drone regulations are set to kick-in on January 1.

Dronamics said it is already preparing for the necessary certification under the new rules, aiming to obtain operational authorisation by the end of 2021 with the first commercial flights of the same-day drone cargo services expected to begin in early 2022.

Svilen Rangelov, co-founder and chief executive of Dronamics, said: “The power of logistics to unlock economic value and opportunity is second to none. This is why especially in a post-2020 world, it is increasingly important to ensure same-day shipping is available not just in big cities, but in every community, no matter how small or remote.

“Now, more than ever before, it’s vital for countries to ensure uninterrupted trade and supply lines with their neighbors no matter what, and our international droneport network will allow just that.

“We are starting with Europe not just because our 2,500 km range allows us to cover the whole continent in one flight, but also because the EU and EU Aviation Safety Agency have shown remarkable regulatory leadership in the field of air mobility, and we are happy to find such great airport partners who will work with us to pioneer this emerging technology.”

Steven Verhasselt, vice president commercial at Liège Airport, said: “We believe that unmanned airfreight will be an important part of the future of the logistics industry. With the capabilities of the Black Swan, Dronamics taps into the growing segment of on-demand same-day delivery in e-commerce, pharma and time-critical cargo. Innovation is key in our industry to meet the current and future challenges and developing LGG as a drone hub is part of our strategic plan.”

Massimo Roccasecca, group cargo director at SAVE Group, the operator of Brescia Airport, added: “Earlier this year the whole world saw the effects that border closings and strict quarantine measures had on global supply chains, as the world was and still is combating the Covid-19 pandemic. But when you have a way to move cargo without traveling with it, supply chains become lockdown-proof.

“Joining the strategic positioning of Brescia — in the center of the industrial Italian territory — as an airport that can service international unmanned cargo and serve as a gateway for Italy within this emerging market is a truly exciting opportunity.”

As part of the roll-out, the drone firm will base its droneport equipment at each location and will hire  and train local staff to operate and handle the flights.

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