Tangerang : Garuda Indonesia is hoping to develop a fleet of as many as 100 drones to deliver cargo across the Indonesian archipelago. The airline would conduct trial flights utilising three Beihang UAS Technology BKZ-005 drones starting in September.
Full operations are expected to start next year carrying seafood from the Maluku islands to Makassar from where the products can be transported throughout Asia. Within five years the operation could expand to 100 drones operating from 30 logistics centres across the country, each with its own airstrip.
“The use of UAVs is an ideal option for the carrier to seize market demand and cargo revenue opportunities, particularly in connecting the remote regions with limited airport facilities such as those in Maluku, Papua, and Sulawesi,” Mohammad Iqbal, Director, Cargo and Business Develop-ment, Garuda Indonesia said earlier this year.
E-commerce is another potential target market for the drone flights.
The drone is capable of carrying up to 1.2 tonnes of cargo, with an endurance of 1,200 km while flying at an altitude of up to 5,000 m.
“Right now we are intensively coordinating with the stakeholders from the regulation and its operational management to ensure a smooth [operation]. We will begin testing the UAV technology in terms of airport feasibility, runway, navigation, air traffic control, meteorology and its related aspects sometime in September 2019,” Iqbal said.