Skyports has partnered with Kenya Airways to launch permanent unmanned aerial vehicle operations in the country, with the target for the first drone delivery flights planned for Q3/Q4 2021.

Both companies will explore the commercial viability of a variety of medical, logistical and inspection use cases alongside Kenya’s leading public and private institutions. Joint efforts have already begun across drone delivery and inspection use cases.

Duncan Walker, chief executive officer at Skyports, said: “Our partnership with Kenya Airways can unlock significant opportunities for drone deliveries and inspections in Kenya. This will create time and cost savings for our customers and contribute to the growth of the country’s tech and aviation ecosystem.

“This important partnership underscores the growth potential of Skyports’ tech-agnostic operator approach as a flexible offering which is suited to varying global market requirements. We look forward to working with Kenya Airways and to further demonstrate the viability of AAM in different geographies.”

This collaboration brings together Kenya Airways’ significant expertise in aviation services and Skyports’ drone delivery logistics service – Delivery by Skyports.

As a leading air services provider in Africa, Kenya Airways seeks to lead the application of drone technology in the region. This will see one of the continent’s leading airliners offer training, operations and traffic management services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Fahari Aviation.

Fahari’s initial focus will be application of drone technology in the areas of training, operations and traffic management with a view to grow into maintenance distribution as well as design and production of drones.

Allan Kilavuka, chief executive officer at Kenya Airways, said: “Aligning with our purpose of the sustainable development of Africa, this partnership with Skyports will support our diversification plans in drone technology application.

“This will give us access to available equipment and established operations that will lay the foundation for the Kenyan and regional drone market through our drone and emerging aviation technology subsidiary, Fahari Aviation.”

The latest news follows on from Skyports announcing its partnership with Japanese trading company Kanematsu, which will aim to accelerate the introduction of advanced air mobility services and passenger and cargo-carrying missions in Japan.

It has obtained regulatory approvals to fly the UK’s first BVLOS medical drone deliveries for the National Health Service (NHS), with operations currently under way. Similarly, Skyports operated the UK Royal Mail’s first drone parcel delivery in Scotland in December 2020.