Industry

Published on October 3rd, 2021 | by Mark Dwyer

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Skyports Achieve UAS Operator Certificate from IAA

Skyports, an operator of cargo drone deliveries and advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure, has obtained a Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC) from the Irish Aviation Authority, permitting the self-authorisation of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights. This is the first such certificate issued by an EU regulator.

The LUC is recognised in all EASA member countries allowing UAS operators to conduct flights without first submitting a declaration or obtaining authorisation from aviation authorities beforehand. Skyports is one of a handful of drone operators globally that have been granted the certification to date after demonstrating to the regulator that as an organisation it is capable of assessing the risk of an operation itself.

As a LUC holder, Skyports will be able to expand its proven drone delivery service within the medical, maritime and logistics sectors across Europe, building on recent high-profile successes most notably in the UK.

Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports, said: “The Light UAS Operator Certificate creates new opportunities for Skyports in Europe – one of our key markets.  Obtaining certification is a landmark moment for our drone delivery business that will enable us to deploy our service more efficiently and meet our customers’ needs more quickly.  Receipt of a LUC is also an enormous privilege for us as a safety organisation and reflects our commitment to achieving the very highest safety standards wherever we operate.”

Speaking at the issuance of the Certificate, the Aviation Regulator / CEO Designate of the IAA, Mr. Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, commented on the significance of this latest development in the fastest-growing segment of the aviation industry: “We are delighted to be the first Regulator in the EU to issue a beyond visual line of sight Light UAS Operator Certificate. The is an exciting development for the European drone sector; in this case providing Skyports with ground-breaking access to a European market of 500 million potential customers.

Drone services are an increasingly important part of the commercial aviation landscape and provide a competitive alternative to traditional service delivery. We look forward to working with the industry to facilitate UAS innovation and competitiveness with the highest safety and security standards, ultimately providing benefits to consumers.”

Skyports’ drone delivery services have experienced great success in the UK and other locations. Projects include the UK’s first COVID-19 test drone delivery service in Scotland with the NHS as well as the operation of an inter-island medical drone delivery service between the Isles of Scilly for Royal Mail.

In preparation for its application for the LUC, Skyports worked with Julie Garland, chief executive of Ireland-based Avtrain, one of Europe’s leading drone training and certification organisations, who provided support on the documentation and provided EASA certification of Skyports’ pilots.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.



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