Zeitfracht’s German Airways moves into marine logistics with drones

By Rebecca Jeffrey

Photo: Zeitfracht Group

Zeitfracht Group and its subsidiary German Airways have now agreed to purchase 17 Wingcopter 198 transport drones for use in offshore wind farm transport.

The deal, which sees Zeitfracht Group and German Airways amongst the first companies in the world to use drones commercially in logistics, comes with options to order an additional 115 aircraft in two further tranches by the end of 2023.

The aircraft is to be used from the second half of 2024 – initially offshore, for example for the delivery of spare parts to vessels supporting the construction and maintenance of offshore wind farms.

The Zeitfracht Group is already active in this business with its shipping company OPUS Marine.

Developed by Wingcopter, the drones can be loaded with a payload of up to five kg and cover a distance of between 75 and 110 km, depending on the load.

The drones must also be able to land with pinpoint accuracy on a moving ship. German Airways and Wingcopter will work closely together to develop this feature.

The Wingcopter will take off from Rostock-Laage Airport in Germany, which has belonged to the Zeitfracht Group since the beginning of the year, and offers the Wingcopter development team an ideal environment for extensive test flights as well as space for measurements and the evaluation of the data collected.

Able to withstand challenging wind and weather conditions, the emission-free drones feature an electric drive and are able to take off vertically without the need for additional infrastructure and then move forward horizontally in flight like a normal airplane. 

Zeitfracht board member Wolfram Simon-Schröter said: “In the Zeitfracht Group we are very creative and always interested in using new technologies in a market-leading manner. From our point of view, the time is now ripe for the commercial use of drones, for example for the delivery of spare parts in offshore wind farms.

“With German Airways, our Rostock-Laage airport and the experience of our shipping company OPUS in delivery operations on the high seas, we have ideal prerequisites together with Wingcopter to push this technology a giant step forward.”

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