As the pandemic persists in the country forcing Kenya Airways to reduce its commercial flights as per governmental regulations, passenger travel is no longer a stable commercial base for the airline.
KQ has now announced a partnership with Skyports, a UK-based logistics company, to operate commercial drones in the country in a bid to reduce reliance on just passenger flights and cargo.
The national carrier is planning to extend the use of these drones to medical deliveries, logistics, and inspection cases with their relevant partner institutions. KQ CEO, Allan Kilavuka in his statement was very excited at these new prospects in diversifying their drone technology application, where the first operation is expected to launch in Q3-Q4 of 2021.
“It 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 Kilavuka.
This memorandum of agreement between KQ and Skyports comes almost a year after parliamentarians legalized the use of drones in the country in April of 2020. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has since then been inviting applications for permits to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for recreational, commercial, or any other use that falls under the categories they have listed.
Skyports has immense expertise in air mobility operations through its drone delivery logistics service -Delivery by Skyports- and it is encouraging to see them partner with one of Africa’s most popular airlines.
The firm has already been given approvals in the UK to conduct medical drone deliveries for the National Health Service. They were also the first to do a drone parcel delivery for UK’s Royal Mail in Scotland in December 2020.
Skyports CEO, Duncan Walker on his end sees a significant boost in the growth of Kenya’s tech and the aviation industry overall. He says the partnership with KQ will ” unlock significant opportunities for drone deliveries and inspections in Kenya,” which should essentially save time and money for customers as well.