SpiceJet Ltd, India’s second largest low-cost airline, has now gained approval from regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to conduct trial of drones for its cargo business, the company said on Friday. The initial aim will be a last-mile delivery from the warehouse.
Depending on the success of this test, SpiceXpress, the cargo delivery arm of the airline, will start using drones for delivery of medical, pharmaceuticals, essential supplies and e-commerce products to remote areas.
“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,” the airline said. Based on the recommendations of the BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring Committee, SpiceXpress was granted permission to conduct experimental BVLOS operations.
The consortium includes drone manufacturing company, Throttle Aerospace, analytics and software solution firm AeoLogic, and air traffic awareness and collision avoidance services provider, Involia. SpiceXpress aims last-mile delivery from the warehouse following the approval, and said 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 the business to offer express delivery of medicines, perishable items and e-commerce shipments, the statement added.
“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. ,” said Ajay Singh, chairman, SpiceJet.