Skyports has obtained a Light UAS Operator Certificate from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) which permits the self-authorisation of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights.

light UAS operator certificate (LUC) is an organisational approval certificate which assigns certain privileges to a drone operator. When the IAA is satisfied that the LUC applicant has demonstrated all the necessary capabilities, it issues the certificate and assign privileges to the drone operators based on their level of maturity.

The privileges may allow the organisation to self-authorise operations, removing the requirement to obtain a prior authorisation. The privileges may be one or more of the following:

This is the first such certificate issued by an EU regulator and is recognised in all European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) member countries, allowing UAS operators to conduct flights without first submitting a declaration or obtaining authorisation from aviation authorities beforehand. 

Skyports is one of a handful of drone operators globally that have been granted the certification to date after demonstrating to the regulator that as an organisation it is capable of assessing the risk of an operation itself.

Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports, said: “The Light UAS Operator Certificate creates new opportunities for Skyports in Europe – one of our key markets.  Obtaining certification is a landmark moment for our drone delivery business that will enable us to deploy our service more efficiently and meet our customers’ needs more quickly. 

“Receipt of an LUC is also an enormous privilege for us as a safety organisation and reflects our commitment to achieving the very highest safety standards wherever we operate.”

In preparation of its application for the LUC, Skyports worked with Julie Garland, chief executive of Ireland-based Avtrain, one of Europe’s leading drone training and certification organisations, which provided support on the documentation and provided EASA certification of Skyports’ pilots.

As an LUC holder, Skyports will now be able to expand its proven drone delivery service within the medical, maritime and logistics sectors across Europe, building on recent high-profile successes most notably in the UK.

This includes the UK’s first COVID-19 test drone delivery service in Scotland with the NHS, as well as the operation of an inter-island medical drone delivery service between the Isles of Scilly for Royal Mail.

Speaking at the issuance of the Certificate, the Aviation Regulator / CEO Designate of the IAA, Mr. Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, added: “We are delighted to be the first Regulator in the EU to issue a beyond visual line of sight Light UAS Operator Certificate. The is an exciting development for the European drone sector; in this case providing Skyports with ground-breaking access to a European market of 500 million potential customers.

“Drone services are an increasingly important part of the commercial aviation landscape and provide a competitive alternative to traditional service delivery. We look forward to working with the industry to facilitate UAS innovation and competitiveness with the highest safety and security standards, ultimately providing benefits to consumers.”