New Zealand’s airspace integration trials programme expands with addition of Swoop Aero

Swoop Aero is joining New Zealand’s Airspace Integration Trials Programme to improve access to healthcare for communities across Aotearoa New Zealand. Swoop Aero joins existing industry partners Wisk New Zealand, Kea Aerospace, Envico Technologies and Aeronavics in the Airspace Integration Programme.

The Airspace Integration Trials Programme is led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIA) Innovative Partnerships programme, supporting uncrewed aircraft to integrate into the existing transport system and enabling businesses to test and develop advanced aerospace technologies in New Zealand.

MBIE and Swoop Aero will work together to develop a multi-year programme to fully integrate their advanced uncrewed aircraft technology in New Zealand. This will involve determining route plans, certification plans, regulatory requirements, and linking up with other businesses. Swoop Aero will work with stakeholders including within the aviation sector to ensure the effective and safe integration of their drone operations and the broader community to ensure a social licence to operate.

Since its establishment in 2017, Swoop Aero has undertaken over 7,250 operational flights to deliver temperature-controlled critical supplies, including vaccines, COVID-19 and HIV tests, pathology samples and anti-venom doses, across seven countries and three continents, according to the company.

Swoop Aero’s Kookaburra aircraft is an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) system that can carry a 3 kg payload up to 130 km on a single charge. Uncrewed aircraft like the Kookaburra overcome the limitations of vast distances, inhospitable terrain, traffic congestion, location accessibility and data shortages, enabling swift and secure delivery of urgent supplies.

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