SpiceJet gets permission to conduct drone trials
New Delhi, May 30, 2020
Low-cost airline and air cargo operator SpiceJet has received formal approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to conduct drone trials.
Post trials and approvals, SpiceXpress, the dedicated cargo arm of SpiceJet, plans to use drones to provide for quicker, faster and cost-effective delivery of medical, pharma and essential supplies and e-commerce products, a press release from the airline said on Friday.
A SpiceXpress-led consortium had submitted a proposal to the regulator for conducting experimental Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations of remotely piloted aircraft in response to a DGCA notice inviting Expression of Interest. Based on the recommendations of the BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring Committee, SpiceXpress was granted permission for conducting experimental BVLOS operations.
Ajay Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, SpiceJet, said, “Innovation and technology have always been at the core of SpiceJet’s mission and vision and we have always strived to innovate with our products and services to offer better experiences. Testing of drone technology for last-mile connectivity and cost-effective cargo deliveries are a big leap in the air transportation of essential and non-essential supplies in India. We are extremely optimistic about using this exciting new mode of delivery for products like perishables and medicines which have a smaller shelf-life and need urgent deliveries in the remotest parts of India.”
The consortium includes Throttle Aerospace, a drone manufacturing company, AeoLogic, an analytics and software solution firm and Involia, which is a provider of air traffic awareness and collision avoidance services.
"SpiceXpress will be looking at last-mile delivery from the warehouse and the prime focus will be on delivering medical emergency parcels and essential supplies in remote areas. Drones will ensure a faster delivery bringing down costs and would go a long way to augment our business to offer express delivery of medicines, perishable items and e-commerce shipments," the release said.
"Ever since the lockdown began, SpiceJet has been at the forefront battling the pandemic and ensuring both domestic and global supply chains remain intact.
"SpiceJet has transported over 12,298 tons of cargo on more than 1728 flights since the nation-wide lockdown began, transporting medical and surgical supplies, sanitizers, face masks, coronavirus rapid test kits, IR thermometers etc. and providing doorstep deliveries of essential supplies, medicines and medical equipment to various cities in India.
"The airline has aggressively expanded its international cargo network operating cargo flights to and from Jakarta, Kathmandu, Sudan, South Korea, Cebu, Huangzhou, Tashkent, Baghdad, Cambodia, Guangzhou, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok, Colombo, Dubai, Kabul, Myanmar, Sharjah, Male, Kuala Lumpur, Ukraine, Nepal, Indonesia and a host of other places," the release said.
"The airline had launched its dedicated cargo arm, SpiceXpress, in September 2018. SpiceJet operated the country’s first cargo-on-seat flight on April 7 carrying vital supplies in passenger cabin & belly space. Since then, the airline has been regularly deploying its B737 and Q400 passenger aircraft to carry cargo in the passenger cabin," it added.