Swoop Aero receives BVLOS approvals for NZ network
01 February 2023, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Swoop Aero has obtained approval to operate beyond visual line-of-sight in New Zealand, as it prepares to launch the country’s first Integrated Drone Logistics network in partnership with Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand.
The approvals, granted by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority in late 2022, will enable Swoop Aero to conduct its drone operations remotely, with a single remote pilot operating up to five aircraft at a time.
The company is set to begin medical transport operations in partnership with Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand in early 2023. The West Coast integrated drone logistics network will initially serve to transport pathology samples and blood products between Westport and Greymouth, for faster processing and enhanced supply chain resilience.
Over the coming months, Swoop Aero will continue to engage the regulator, as well as aviation operators and the wider community on the West Coast to ensure the necessary approvals are in place to launch network operations to the highest global safety standards.
“Swoop Aero has proven that we are global leaders in drone logistics, with successfully sustained networks from Malawi to Australia. We are proud to now announce Aotearoa New Zealand’s first integrated drone logistics network in partnership with Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand”, says Swoop Aero’s CEO and Co-founder, Eric Peck.
“Integrated drone logistics bridges the gaps in society’s infrastructure by overcoming vast distances, traffic congestion, location inaccessibility, inhospitable terrain, and data shortages, and by leveraging the most advanced technology-based drone logistics platform on the market, Swoop Aero will unlock the skies above New Zealand”, Mr Peck said.
Te Whatu Ora General Manager on the West Coast, Philip Wheble, says:
“The use of this type of technology offers an exciting opportunity in how laboratory services are provided to Buller residents. We envisage drone transfers will be used for urgent pathology services and during Civil Defence emergencies”.
“In the past 18 months, the Buller community has experienced three significant weather events resulting in road closures between Westport and Greymouth. Having access to this technology during Civil Defence emergencies will enable our teams to continue providing these services with minimal disruption”.
Te Whatu Ora National Director of Improvement and Innovation, Dr Dale Bramley, said that the arrival of a drone delivery service in the New Zealand health system offered great potential.
“This technology has been trialled successfully overseas and the new service between Greymouth and Westport will help establish whether drones could play a future role in the movement of time-sensitive medications, specimens and other medical goods across the country.
“The use of drone technology offers the potential to reduce transport times, particularly in places such as Auckland where traffic congestion is a major issue. We will watch with interest to assess the benefits of a potential wider rollout.”