UPS has applied for Part 135 certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration to operate commercial drone flights under a subsidiary called UPS Flight Forward.
The subsidiary is an incorporated business that could receive certification as early as this year, making UPS the first fully-certified revenue-generating drone operator in the US.
When approved, the certification lays the foundation for drone flights beyond the operator’s visual line of sight, and for day and night flights.
Scott Price, chief transformation and strategy officer at UPS says: “UPS is committed to using technology to transform the way we do business. UPS’s formation of a drone delivery company and application to begin regular operations under this level of certification is historic for UPS and for the drone and logistics industries.”
UPS operates drone healthcare deliveries in a specific use-case under FAA Part 107 rules.
In March, UPS initiated the first FAA-sanctioned use of a drone for routine revenue flights involving the transport of cargo.
The FAA approval was for a delivery agreement at WakeMed’s flagship hospital and campus in Raleigh, North Carolina.
UPS delivers medical supplies via unmanned drones, supplementing a ground courier service, and UPS plans to extend drone services to other hospitals and campus settings.