UPS Flight Forward Inc. announced yesterday that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has awarded it the first full certification for a “drone airline,” or commercial drone deliveries. The subsidiary of United Parcel Service of America Inc. said it plans to start by expanding drone deliveries to hospitals nationwide.
The FAA granted UPS the first Part 135 Standard certification last Friday. Under the certification, an unmanned aerial system (UAS) and its payload can weigh more than 55 lb., flights can occur at night, and there is no limit to the distance (in non-urban areas) or the number of drones or operators. UPS said the certification will allow it to scale its operations to meet customer demand.