Kenya’s legacy carrier is continuing with its momentum in 2021 by partnering with advanced air mobility (AAM) company Skyports. The airline has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the launch of permanent Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations in the East African country.

The collaboration is already in effect and will include drone delivery and Airport inspection operations.

The aim of the partnership in the coming three months is to explore the commercial viability and impact of a variety of medical, logistical and inspection use cases alongside Kenya’s leading public and private institutions. The target for the launch of the first drone delivery flights is during Q3-Q4 2021.

“Aligning with our purpose of the sustainable development of Africa, this partnership with Skyports will support our diversification plans in drone technology application. This will give us access to available equipment and established operations that will lay the foundation for the Kenyan and regional drone market through our drone and emerging aviation technology subsidiary, Fahari Aviation,” said Allan Kilavuka, chief executive officer Kenya Airways

Duncan Walker, chief executive officer at Skyports, said, “Our partnership with Kenya Airways can unlock significant opportunities for drone deliveries and inspections in Kenya. This will create time and cost savings for our customers and contribute to the growth of the country’s tech and aviation ecosystem. This important partnership underscores the growth potential of Skyports’ tech-agnostic operator approach as a flexible offering which is suited to varying global market requirements. We look forward to working with Kenya Airways and to further demonstrate the viability of AAM in different geographies.”

Kenya Airways seeks to lead the application of drone technology in the region, with the collaboration enabling KQ to be one of Africa’s leading carriers offering training, operations and traffic management services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Fahari aviation.

Skyports is a mobility company developing and operating landing infrastructure for the electric air taxi revolution, as well as operating cargo drone deliveries. The company obtained regulatory approvals to fly the UK’s first beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) medical drone deliveries for the National Health Service (NHS), with operations currently under way. Similarly, Skyports operated the UK Royal Mail’s first drone parcel delivery in Scotland in December 2020.

By Victor Shalton Odhiambo

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