US-based regional airline Mesa Air Group has decided to venture into the last-mile food delivery business, using drones. With the initial pilot program planned for Nevada, the airline wants to expand its drone delivery service across the US, followed by New Zealand.
For this, Mesa Air has partnered with aerospace technology company Flirtey. The airline has already ordered four drones from the aircraft designer and manufacturer for its pilot program, with their agreement providing an option to order additional 500 aircraft. Mesa says it’s the first scheduled airline to launch a drone delivery business in the US.
For precision delivery to homes and businesses, Flirtey will provide Mesa with “Made in the USA” electric-powered, advanced aircraft called Flirtey Eagle. Further, to facilitate commercial operations, Flirtey will also provide Mesa with a software platform that conducts autonomous flight operations.
It’s worth noting that Flirtey has already conducted over 6,000 uncrewed delivery flights in the US. The company says its technology is protected by over 1,000 patents claims issued and pending in the US and worldwide.
According to a press release issued by Mesa, the partnership will prioritize operational data collection. Mesa Chairman and CEO, Jonathan Ornstein, says:
Mesa is excited to partner with Flirtey to become the first scheduled airline to launch drone delivery in the US. It is a huge market and it’s here now. This is the future of small package last-mile delivery.
Adds Flirtey founder and CEO Matthew Sweeny:
Flirtey is excited to partner with Mesa to operationalize our best-in-class drone delivery aircraft and autonomous software platform. With Mesa’s operational excellence, we look forward to rapidly expanding drone delivery focusing on the trillion-dollar last-mile food delivery market.
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