Drone deliveries set to take off from EIA – .

Drone deliveries set to take off from EIA – .

EDMONTON – A new type of aircraft will soon take off from Edmonton International Airport (EIA).

On Thursday, Canada’s drone technology company Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) announced that it has reached an agreement with the EIA and two courier companies to provide and manage new drone infrastructure for out-of-airport deliveries.

Initially, the unmanned drones will be pre-programmed to carry cargo from the EIA to a landing point in Nisku, Alta.

Flights will be remotely monitored by DDC from its operations control center in Vaughan, Ontario.

DDC President and CEO Michael Zahra told CTV News Edmonton on Friday that the specific destination in Nisku was still being decided by the two courier companies, Apple Express Courier and Ziing Final Mile.

“There is a couple in contention,” he said from his Toronto office. “Once they decide which one it will be, we’ll have a DroneSpot depot there, and the drone is programmed to go back and forth between those depots. “


Zahra pointed out that although the drone route is first from a take-off point to a landing point, the operation has the potential to be extended, later.

“The network can really be anything the customer wants. It can be several points of origin, several points of destination. ”

The new route will initially be taken by the smallest of DDC’s three types of delivery drones, known as the Sparrow.

The battery-powered Sparrow has a range of up to 30 kilometers and can carry up to 4.5 kilograms.

DDC’s battery-powered Robin drone has a range of 60 kilometers and a payload of 11.3 kilograms.

Zahra said DDC’s largest messaging drone, known as the Condor, is almost as big as a small helicopter. The gasoline-powered drone can carry up to 180 kilograms of cargo and can travel around 200 kilometers per flight.

Zahra says his business is operating within what current regulations in Canada currently allow, with business-to-business and remote rural flights making up the bulk of its operations, but he expects more use of the technology in the future.

“You will see a greater penetration of drone delivery in suburban and urban markets,” he said, “and you can certainly consider seeing door-to-door deliveries”.

Zahra expects both courier companies to use the drones to move a wide variety of cargo.


EIA spokeswoman Traci Bednard told CTV News Edmonton the new drone operation would help take airport cargo delivery services to a new level.

“When we really think about the future and how much cargo is being moved from the airport to off-site, you can see there is such a huge demand for the kind of efficiency drones can deliver.

“What this does is provide very quick access from the airport to this final delivery point. “

Bednard said the EIA will work alongside the DDC to ensure all regulatory measures are in order.

“If we can provide the support needed to build the infrastructure for companies like DDC to then provide that last mile to the commercial site,” she said, “then we are providing commercial service for our region. “.

While personal drone flights at airports are restricted, Bednard said regulated commercial drone flights are a good fit for EIA.

“These (big) plane flights are very regulated,” she said. “By applying that same kind of discipline to drones, you can see that it’s a very safe and effective methodology. “

The EIA spokeswoman said she believed it would be the first such drone delivery operation to a large-scale international airport in Canada.

The implementation of the drone delivery infrastructure has already started. The operation should be launched in September.

With files from Jeremy Thompson of CTV News Edmonton


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