The Transport Malta Civil Aviation Directorate (TM-CAD) has granted drone provider Dronamics the operational license. The permit is in full accordance with the EU legal drone framework
and allows Dronamics to operate its “Black Swan” Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) across all 27 member states.
Yesterday, (24MAY22), might have seemed to the Rangelov brothers, who are the initiators of the Black Swan project, as if Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost coincided. Because the green light given to the UAS provider by the Maltese authorities, announced during the European Business Aviation Conference Exhibition – EBACE, held in Geneva, Switzerland, paves the way for flights of its Black Swan aerial vehicle.
From now on, the permit allows Dronamics to self-authorize operations across or within all EU member states.
The official aproval was preceded by agreements with dozens of regional airports with which the Rangelov brothers signed cooperation contracts, resulting in a so far virtual network spanning across the European continent.
The concession is key to global expansion
The legal framework for UAS weighing 250 grams or more exists only since 31DEC20 and applies to both the EU and North America, rubberstamped by the EASA in Cologne, Germany and Washington’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). “After registration, every UAS operator will receive a unique electronic registration number to be affixed to each UAS. A UAS operator may operate multiple UAS under his registration number,” reads the U.S. regulation.
Money printing machine?
In the case of Dronamics, it is formally a Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC) granted by the Maltese authorities allowing for middle-mile drone flights initiated for the purpose of transporting air freight. In a nutshell, the LUC license is kind of a blueprint for drone providers to offer commercial flights and open up new market opportunities. Optimistic market observers even speak of a concession to kick-start a money printing machine. But the Rangelovs are not there yet. They speak of a trial period in which operations will be scaled up, with the first commercial flight between Malta and Italy following later this year.
This route was primarely chosen for safety reasons, as it crosses water and not inhabited areas. Thus, the security architecture of the flights will also be scrutinized.
In a second step, Dronamics plans to link key hubs across the region, starting and ending in Malta as its European operational base.
One of the drone provider’s first customers might be logistics player Hellmann Worldwide, as expressed by its COO Airfreight Jan Kleine Lasthues in a recent interview with CargoForwarder Global: “We have various use cases in mind. For example, we could use Black Swans to provide shuttle services for components for the automotive industry between different production plants. Malta is home to various aerospace companies that are in constant need of urgent supplies coming from the mainland. Aerospace production sites in Hamburg and Toulouse could also be quickly and easily linked by drone,” exemplified the manager (Exclusive - The Black Swan is about to take off - CargoForwarder Global)
Malta on way to becoming drone port
“Since the initial contact with Dronamics, the operational concept, the experienced and passionate team, and above all the company mission, made us believe that Dronamics will be the pioneer of a new, safe, and exciting era of the drone cargo long range operation. I would also like to thank the Rangelov Brothers and DRONAMICS’ Airline team for selecting Malta for their new LUC and we are proud to have Dronamics as our new member of the 9H community,” emphasized Captain Charles Pace, Director General of Civil Aviation Directorate Transport Malta (TM-CAD), while handing over the LUC to the Dronamics team.
Sergio Oliveira e Silva, COO of DRONAMICS responded to this: “Our team has been involved in numerous AOCs on several continents before, and we are continuously impressed with the world-class professionalism and expertise of Transport Malta, coupled with a pro-innovation mindset. With the support of such a sophisticated and technologically advanced regulator, and with Malta as our European operations base, we are well placed to progress our operations and start serving key routes across the Mediterranean later this year and continue our future expansion so that we can achieve our mission to enable same-day delivery for everyone, everywhere.”
The Black Swan can carry a maximum of 350 kg and fly up to 2,500 km / 1550 miles nonstop. Its use enables same-day shipping over longer distances for a variety of industries, from pharma to food, from e-commerce to spare parts, holds Dronamics.
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