Mesa Becomes the First Scheduled Airline in the U.S. to Launch Drone Delivery Services

Flirtey and Mesa Airlines are launching a drone delivery service. 6 photos
Photo: Flirtey
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In the last couple of years, mainly because of the ongoing global health crisis, some business sectors have suffered severe losses, while others have flourished. One of the latter is last-mile food delivery, with an expanding market that’s estimated to reach trillions of dollars, and drones will play an essential part in this rapidly-growing business.
A scheduled airline brand in the U.S. claims to be the first of its kind to launch drone delivery. We’re talking about Mesa Airlines, based in Phoenix, Arizona. This regional air carrier has teamed up with Flirtey, an aerospace technology company, to initiate a drone delivery service.

It does look like the first time when an air carrier dabbles into the foodservice market. Mesa intends to expand its operations from scheduled flights to last-mile deliveries for food and beverages. And it plans to go big – not only will it be the first airline to do so in the U.S., but it will also introduce its delivery service in New Zealand.

Flirtey is not a beginner when it comes to drone deliveries. Back in 2015, it conducted the first drone delivery approved by FAA (the Federal Aviation Administration). After that breakthrough project, it also became the first company to achieve an autonomous drone delivery to a home and the first commercial drone delivery. Its collaborations include big names like NASA, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and emergency medical services provider REMSA. Now, together with Mesa, it hopes to expand commercial drone delivery.

The two companies have signed a purchase agreement for four drones, with the option of adding 500 more. The new delivery service will integrate Flirtey’s software platform for autonomous flight operations and its electric delivery drone, called “the Eagle.” According to Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa Chairman and CEO, drone delivery “is the future of small package last-mile delivery,” but food deliveries are just the first step in the airline’s future expansion.

The first drone delivery service launched by a scheduled airline in the U.S. is another step towards eventually replacing traditional delivery operations.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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