NAV Canada approves Sparrow drone take-off from Edmonton International Airport

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A Sparrow drone from Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) has flown from the airport operations facility at Edmonton International Airport (EIA), Canada, to a site in Leduc County, Canada, marking the first time this activity has been approved by NAV Canada, the not-for-profit corporation that operates Canada’s civil air navigation system.

The Sparrow drone is expected to carry 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 and any drone activity is forbidden without proper authorization. Therefore, EIA and DDC have worked with NAV Canada to create new approvals and safety procedures to make this and future flights possible.

Reflecting on the development, Myron Keehn, vice president of air service and business development at EIA, said, “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 groundbreaking event, who strive for an innovative future of drone operations.”

Jason Berry, vice president of Air Canada Cargo, commented, “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.”

Michael Zahra, president and CEO of DDC, said, “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 toward 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.”

Nasser Syed, CEO of Apple Express, added, “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 e-commerce industries where time-critical logistics is a must.”

Chris Higham, president and CEO of Ziing Final Mile, said, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with 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.”

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As the latest addition to the UKi Media & Events team, Elizabeth combines research skills from her English degree with a keen interest in the meteorological and transportation industries. Having taken the lead in student and startup publications, she has gained experience in editing online and print titles on a wide variety of topics. In her role as Assistant Editor, Elizabeth creates new and topical content on the pioneering technologies in transportation, logistics and meteorology.

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