7 OCTOBER 2019
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US shipping company United Parcel Service’s Flight Forward division has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate a drone airline for limited commercial package delivery to hospital campuses around the US.
UPS chief executive David Abney said: “Our technology is opening doors for UPS and solving problems for customers. We will now move to build our infrastructure, expand services for healthcare customers and put drones to new uses in the future.”
Airwise reported the FAA certification allows the company to fly an unlimited number of drones with an unlimited number of remote operators on flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
Flight Forward made its first drone flight under the certification at the WakeMed hospital campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company said the flight was operated under a government exemption allowing for BVLOS operation.
US secretary of transportation Elaine Chao said the certification was “a big step forward in safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace, expanding access to healthcare in North Carolina and building on the success of the national UAS Integration Pilot Programme”.
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