Airbus flies ‘Skyways’ drone


Airbus Helicopters flew its parcel delivery drone Skyways for the first time in Singapore today.

The unmanned air vehicle took off from a maintenance centre at the National University of Singapore (NUS), picked up a package from a specially designed station on site, then returned to unload the package.

Skyways is a collaborative project between the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) established in 2016, it was later extended in April 2017 when Singapore Post became the project’s logistics partner.

Alain Flourens, executive vice president of engineering and chief technical officer for Airbus Helicopters said: “Today’s flight demonstration paves the way positively to our local trial service launch in the coming months. It is the result of a very strong partnership among the stakeholders involved, especially the close guidance and confidence from the CAAS.

“Safe and reliable urban air delivery is a reality in the not too distant future, and Airbus is certainly excited to be a forerunner in this endeavour.”

The project is nearing the completion of its research and development phase and is planning to launch a trial delivery service at the university this year. Students at the campus will be able to send and receive parcels weighing between 2kg and 4kg across the campus.

Mr Kevin Shum, Director-General at the CAAS, said: “The Skyways project is an important innovation for the aviation industry. CAAS has been working closely with Airbus on the project, with an emphasis on co-developing systems and rules to ensure that such aircraft can operate in an urban environment safely and optimally.

“For Singapore, this project will help to develop innovative rules to support the development of the unmanned aircraft industry in Singapore. We are pleased with the good progress that Skyways is making and look forward to deepening our partnership with Airbus.”