World’s First Airport-Based Drone Delivery Hub Comes to Canada’s Edmonton Airport

drone delivery

Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) has partnered up with Edmonton Regional Airports Authority to bring drone technology to Edmonton International Airport (EIA). As of October 29, 2019, this is the world’s first airport-based drone delivery hub and it is set to revolutionize the way that we think about air cargo.

This program won’t just allow drone delivery for Western and Northern Canada. This service is going to dramatically modernize and streamline entire supply chain logistics in unprecedented ways. This is the first of many airports and other locations that will change the name of the game in cargo transport with a step toward the future with drone technology.


What is the Drone Delivery hub at EIA? 

The DDC is placing a DroneSpot at Edmonton International Airport and Villeneuve Airport (though it will focus on the former). They’ll deploy their Sparrow cargo drone, which has a capacity up to 10lbs.

The primary purpose of this partnership is to utilize controlled airspace for the takeoff, flight, and landing of delivery drones. EIA already has the airspace and flight routes set and ready to go and they also have drone infrastructure in place.

The DDC will be supporting the drone technology, but the shipment commissions will come from couriers, freight forwarders, and logistics companies. 

Air Canada, which has a long-term relationship with both DDC and EIA, has agreed to take on the marketing and promotion of the drone delivery services. DDC will also work with ERAA and Transport Canada to define drone routes and support services. 


Why Does This Matter? 

Drone delivery is on its way to becoming the primary method for short-range, express delivery. Though the use of drone transportation is somewhat still in its infancy, more and more large organizations have already begun adopting and implementing drone advancements. 

Drones make delivery a lot smoother. Using airspace, they’re removing some of the overwhelming pressure of traditional deliveries. During an ongoing trucking crisis, this is especially critical to try to minimize on-road shipments—especially for local or short-distance deliveries. 

The DDC reports that they’re going to use these drones for a variety of purposes including e-commerce, courier, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, and oil and gas industry. These will be for individual shipments as well as B2B and commercial loads. 

This will play a major role in intermodal connectivity. Transportation today relies on a number of “arms” throughout the transport chain to deliver items. Drones are fast and reliable ways to fill in the gaps between traditional methods of delivery. 

Furthermore, this project is going to bring a lot of economic stimulation to the region. It will create a lot of new jobs while also enhancing logistical benefits that will bring more revenue through the district. We look forward to seeing how this drone program will impact the surrounding community, and what this could mean for economic growth in other cities and districts moving forward. 


Why Edmonton Airport? 

Edmonton International Airport (EIA) was the first choice for DDC to implement its drone flight routes. That’s because EIA holds an esteemed reputation as an innovative and tech-savvy airport. They’ve implemented a number of incredible tech advancements in their airports, airplanes, and flight paths.

EIA also has experience with drones for other applications. They were actually using drones for wildlife control around the tarmac and airspace area. Thanks to their partnerships with Alberta Aerospace and Technology Centre, EIA also has cargo opportunities with expanded infrastructure and cutting-edge technologies.


More Ongoing Projects by the DDC 

There are a lot of modern advancements coming from Drone Delivery Canada, including…


  1. DDC is collaborating with DSV Panalpina A.S, a European logistics and transport group. This will bring the DroneSpot delivery platform and Sparrow cargo drones to the DSV Air & Sea Canada division. Learn more about this partnership here
  2. DDC announced its Condor drone, which is the largest and longest-range drone on the market. It can hold up to 400lbs and go up to 124 miles on a single tank of gas. This kind of range will drastically change drone flight and delivery paths—and the future of air cargo altogether. 
  3. DDC has partnered up with Toyota Tsusho Canada, part of the Toyota Group. Together, they’ll be flight testing and developing international markets for drone delivery. 


That means Edmonton Airport’s DroneSpot is just the first of many that will be implementing drone tech across Canada—and across the globe.


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