This post originally appeared on http://aircargoworld.com/astral-aviation-plans-entry-into-drone-business/.
[Editor’s Note: Astral Aviation to launch humanitarian drone service once they receive approval from Kenya’s Civil Aviation Authority.]
Currently known best for the company’s scheduled and charter cargo operations, Kenya-based Astral Aviation is preparing for entry into the drone delivery business as early as next year, according to local sources.
Sanjeev Gadhia, Astral’s CEO, confirmed that his company has set aside US$500,000 to launch humanitarian-related drone services – that is, if Kenya’s Civil Aviation Authority gives the green light. “We want to introduce the drones for commercial purposes. The draft regulations, if passed in time, will allow us to start operations as early as next year,” said Gadhia. Currently there are no commercial drone operators in Kenya.
Drones would enable Astral to fulfill a demand for cargo transport to destinations where conventional cargo planes are unable to land due to insufficient infrastructure. Future plans call for a dedicated-drone airport, which would allow Astral drones to move beyond cargo and also take part in agricultural and traffic-control-related missions.
For now, pilot training and operations planning are on hold until Kenya’s drone regulations are further clarified by the KAA and Kenya’s Ministry of Defense. At present, the KAA limits civilians to flying drones at just over 130 meters and requires pilots to obtain security clearance from the Ministry of Defense.