Amazon gets FAA approval for drone deliveries

FAA grants approval for Prime Air service to move forward with autonomous delivery plans

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 01 September 2020 21:22 BST
Amazon Prime Air hopes to deliver packages to customers with 30 minutes using drones
Amazon Prime Air hopes to deliver packages to customers with 30 minutes using drones (Amazon)
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Amazon's plans to use drones to deliver packages to customers within 30 minutes of an order being placed has moved a step closer after the retail giant received a crucial flight certificate.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted a Part 135 air carrier certificate, allowing Amazon to move forward to the next stage of testing for its Prime Air service.

Amazon described it as an "important step" in its mission to launch commercial drone deliveries and achieve its Shipment Zero pledge to make all deliveries carbon neutral in the future.

"This indicates the FAA's confidence in Amazon's operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world," David Carbon, VP of Prime Air, said in a statement.

"We will continue to develop and refine our technology to fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace, and work closely with the FAA and other regulators around the world to realize our vision of 30 minute delivery."

The announcement comes amid a huge surge in demand for online deliveries brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Amazon's share price has more than doubled since March, propelling CEO Jeff Bezos's wealth to record highs.

The world's richest person is now worth more than $200 billion (£152bn) after adding more than $80bn to his fortune since the start of the year.

Amazon is not the first US company to receive approval from the FAA. Delivery firm UPS and tech giant Google both received the same certificate in 2019.

Earlier this year, UPS announced a partnership with German startup Wingcopter that would allow it to deliver medical supplies and parcels of food within a 120km range.

As one of the world's biggest couriers, UPS could eventually roll out the 240km/h delivery drones to the 220 countries and territories that it currently serves.

Analysis of the drone delivery industry from earlier this year predicted that the market will grow to over $43bn by 2025.

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