Canada’s first drone delivery operation from within an airport has taken off from Edmonton International Airport (EIA), helping chart a new path for this emerging industry.
A Sparrow drone from Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) successfully flew from the EIA Airport Operations Facility to a site in Leduc County, marking the first time this activity has been approved by NAV CANADA. This logistics operation is a major step towards the future modernization of supply chains. The Sparrow drone will soon be carrying commercial cargo packages on behalf of clients Ziing Final Mile and Apple Express. Air Canada Cargo is operating as the official agent for DDC.
Airspace around all Canadian airports is highly restricted for safety and any drone activity is forbidden without proper authorization. EIA and DDC have spent significant months working with NAV CANADA to create new approvals and safety procedures to make this and future flights possible. These initial flights will create the template for future operations that could include deliveries into populated areas, such as Edmonton or other major centres, as well as Indigenous communities and Northern communities.
“At EIA our mandate is to support economic growth and diversification in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. Our national leadership in integrating drone technologies at an airport is giving birth to a new sector in drone logistics. The integration of these sustainable technologies is the precursor to the enablement of advanced air mobility, and it lowers barriers for the movement of goods and in the future, people. Congratulations to all the partners involved in this ground-breaking event and who strive for an innovative future of drone operations,” said Myron Keehn, vice-president, Air Service and Business Development.
Jason Berry, vice-president, Air Canada Cargo, said, “Air Canada Cargo is privileged to be the catalyst for bringing the different parties together for this historic initiative. Drone operations at airports will play a vital role in the future of cargo connectivity. Congratulations to the team at Edmonton International Airport for being true visionaries and to Apple Express and Ziing Final Mile for believing in the future of the drone industry”
“We are honored to be working with all parties to bring meaningful value to stakeholders using our patented drone delivery solution. We are entering a unique time in transportation history as we move towards a future that suggests an entirely new landscape of opportunities for the global supply chain. To our knowledge, this is the first drone delivery project at a large-scale international airport anywhere in Canada. As an award-winning global leader, we are pleased with our continued technological and commercial successes in the drone delivery industry,” said Michael Zahra, president and CEO of DDC.
Nasser Syed, CEO Apple Express, observed, “Unlocking the opportunities that come with advanced last-mile delivery systems is essential to meeting our customer expectations well into the future. It’s exciting to partner with Drone Delivery Canada as an early adopter in drone technology and celebrate the next big step in operationalizing this innovative transportation method for commercial use. As these shorter flight routes prove successful, we look forward to expanding our transportation network and offering our customers speedy and seamless delivery, especially in the healthcare, technology, aerospace and ecommerce industries where time-critical logistics is a must.”
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Edmonton International Airport, Air Canada, Drone Delivery Canada and Apple Express. As an early adopter of drone technology, I believe, we’ll help businesses and communities alike by offering a last mile delivery service that’s complementary to traditional over the road delivery,” concluded Chris Higham, president and CEO of Ziing Final Mile.
This press release was prepared and distributed by Edmonton International Airport.