Kenya Airways said that it has diversified into drone services as a way of expanding its income source.
The Kenyan national carrier said on Tuesday it had partnered with Skyports a United Kingdom-based logistics firm to launch drone operations in the East African country.
This diversification comes months after Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), legalised the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Kenya Airways and Skyport said in a joint statement that in the next three months, they would be looking for ways to commercialise using drones.
“The partnership aims to explore the commercial viability and impact of various medical, logistical and inspection use cases alongside Kenya’s leading public and private institutions with the launch of the first drone delivery flights slated for Q3-Q4 this year,” they said.
Skyports has expertise in advanced air mobility and provides drone delivery services through its logistics arm – Delivery by Skyports, which offers unmanned systems technologies within the medical, e-commerce and logistics sectors.
KQ chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka said the partnership with Skyport supports its diversification plans into drone technology applications.
“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,” he said.
KQ, through its Fahari subsidiary, also wants to offer training, operations and traffic management services in the region.
Skyports will employ its operational expertise on beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), which places the company in a unique position to support Kenya Airways drone operation activities.
“Our partnership with Kenya Airways can unlock significant opportunities for drone deliveries and inspections in Kenya, creating time and cost savings for our customers and contribute to the growth of the country’s tech and aviation ecosystem,” said Duncan Walker, chief executive Officer at Skyports.The London-based firm has regulatory approvals to fly the UK’s first BVLOS medical drone deliveries for the National Health Service (NHS), with operations currently underway.