Drone delivery company Skyports and low-cost airline developer Irelandia have formed a joint venture to bring drone deliveries to Colombia and wider Latin America (LATAM). The joint venture aims to bring a fast, frequent and reliable logistics service to Colombia, connecting Colombia’s rural communities.
The Skyports medical drone delivery trials will be the first of their kind for Colombia, with flights expected to commence around mid-2022. Drone delivery operations will be launched across remote areas of Colombia including La Guajira and Chocó, with a focus on carrying critical health supplies such as vaccines, pathology samples and HIV tests. The drones to be used on this project are provided by Australian drone company Swoop Aero and can carry up to 5kg, as far as 180km in harsh environments such as high altitudes, wind and rain.
The joint venture will build on from Skyports’ proof of concept trials which took place earlier this year, where Skyports partnered with the UK’s National Health Service in rural Scotland, transporting COVID-19 test samples, PPE and other medical materials by drone between medical facilities in isolated and difficult to reach areas. The successful trials reduced end-to-end delivery time by almost 95 percent – from what would have taken on average 20 hours through conventional delivery methods to just one hour via drone delivery, according to Skyports’ press material.
The joint venture will be led by Skyports’ Bogota-based Colombia General Manager, Daniel Salamanca, who brings years of drone delivery experience to the project. Salamanca was also the first to receive approval for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights in Colombia on the Pacific Coast, where he worked with the national government and the presidency to transport blood samples from rural areas into central hospitals. These drone delivery trials benefited more than 1,200 people and waiting times for laboratory results was reduced by more than 75 percent.
Irelandia brings expertise in regulations, flight operations and commercialisation through its ownership of Viva Air, based in Colombia and Peru, plus earlier airline interests.
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