A new deal is letting Edmonton’s airport take-off to be the world’s first drone delivery site.
Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) inked the agreement with the Edmonton Regional Airports Authority to operate out of the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) and the Villeneuve Airport on Tuesday. This makes Edmonton the first airport in Canada to have a drone delivery hub.
“EIA is proud to partner with industry leader DDC to establish Canada’s first airport drone delivery site and drastically modernize cargo logistics and supply chain solutions,” said Myron Keehn, EIA’s vice-president of air service and commercial development, in a news release Tuesday.
Company president and CEO Michael Zahra said in an email Edmonton was chosen because of its reputation of being one of Canada’s most forwarding thinking, innovative and tech-savvy airports.
“They also have experience with drones for other applications like wildlife control,” he said. “They were looking for a drone logistics partner and we were their natural choice given our advanced system, well beyond what anyone else in our industry can do. This is an exciting new industry so everyone should pay careful attention and look to participate.”
Zahra said DDC will operate out of both the international airport and Villeneuve but the former will be the primary focus. He couldn’t say how many jobs the Toronto area-based company will bring to the region but expected it to be “significant as we build out the network over time.”
Mail to medical supplies
Deliveries will be made through couriers, freight forwarders or other logistics companies for business-to-business or individuals if they can coordinate it. Deliveries can be anything from postal mail to medical supplies.
The deal follows the news about Amazon opening a fulfillment centre in the Border Business Park in Leduc County, which will be near the international airport, though Zahra said Amazon didn’t factor into their decision to partner with the airport.
Zahra said the company has years of experience operating drones and is deemed a compliant operator by Transport Canada.
“Our implementation will be closely coordinated with Edmonton International Airport and the regulators as appropriate,” Zahra added. “Our advanced and patented systems allow us to fly in controlled airspace.”
The terms of the agreement are for five years with the possibility of an extension unless the agreement is terminated.