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Skyports Launches a Trailblazing Drone Delivery Project in the UK

Folks living in Orkney, an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, will be among the first in the UK to benefit from drone deliveries. An expert in drone cargo services and infrastructure has joined forces with the Royal Mail and local authorities in Orkney to debut a pioneering delivery service.
Skyports will test the use of drones for mail delivery in Orkney 8 photos
Photo: Skyports Drone Services
Skyports Will Use Drones for Mail Deliveries in Orkney, ScotlandSkyports Will Use Drones for Mail Deliveries in Orkney, ScotlandSkyports Will Use Drones for Mail Deliveries in Orkney, ScotlandSkyports Will Use Drones for Mail Deliveries in Orkney, ScotlandSkyports Will Use Drones for Mail Deliveries in Orkney, ScotlandSkyports Will Use Drones for Mail Deliveries in Orkney, ScotlandSkyports Will Use Drones for Mail Deliveries in Orkney, Scotland
For people living on one of Orkney's 19 islands, getting their mail is a challenging task. All postal deliveries come from central Scotland via airplane and then get delivered to the residents on the main island. Ferries or small aircraft take the mail further to those on the islands, and bad weather often causes delays and changes.

This is why Orkney, with its challenging geography and unfriendly weather, was the perfect candidate for a pilot project regarding drone delivery. The Royal Mail, the Orkney Islands Council Harbor Authority, and Loganair will test a new way of delivering mail together with Skyports Drone Services.

Initially, the inter-island mail distribution service will only focus on three locations across Orkney. During three months, mail will be delivered daily via ground and drone transportation. The mail will travel from Kirkwall to a hub in Stromness on the ground; drones will take it further on the Royal Mail route.

This will kick off in the second quarter of this year and hopefully be extended after the first three months.

In addition to that, Skyports will also explore shore-to-ship operations. This is part of the Orkney I-Port operation, a pioneering project for fully-electric drone logistics. It even claims to be the first of its kind in the UK that has the potential to convert into regular services under the current regulations.

Skyports Drone Services is a previous winner of the Freight Innovation Fund Accelerator. The company was founded in 2018, and it has a strong focus on dedicated eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) infrastructure as well.

On the one hand, Skyports is a pioneering vertiport developer. It unveiled the world’s first vertiport, a demonstration project in Marina Bay, Singapore, in 2019. It’s currently building one near Paris, which could become the first vertiport in Europe, and bringing several of them to Los Angeles.

On the other hand, the Skyports Drone Services branch was designed to improve connectivity for people living in challenging environments such as Orkney.

Orkney I-Port isn’t Skyport’s first endeavor in Scotland. In 2022, the company launched a similar program. In that case, drones were used for delivering school meals, not mail. In both cases, all-electric cargo drones could tremendously improve connectivity for rural island areas, saving time and money.

This is a milestone for the freight sector in the UK. If things go well, people in Orkney could get their mail delivered by drones on a daily basis.
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Editor's note: Gallery showing various Skyports cargo drones

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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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