Matternet, the developer of the world’s leading urban drone delivery system, today announced that its partner, Ameriflight, the nation’s largest Part 135 Cargo airline, received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate the Matternet M2 for commercial delivery. Ameriflight now becomes the second operator in the U.S. approved to operate the Matternet M2. Combined, Matternet and Ameriflight now become the first fully operational, large-scale drone airline in the United States and will focus on health care and e-commerce deliveries across the country.
The partnership follows the FAA’s approval of Matternet’s M2 aircraft for operations under Ameriflight’s Part 135 certificate and comes after Matternet received FAA Type and Production certifications for the M2 in 2022. The M2 is the first unmanned aircraft to receive these certifications as it scales up U.S. operations and expands further into the healthcare and e-commerce space.
Under the terms of the agreement, Ameriflight will operate the Matternet M2 for package delivery to Matternet’s customers located in dense urban and suburban environments across the U.S. Through its Part 135 certificate, Ameriflight will also use Matternet’s software platform to manage a nationwide fleet of Matternet M2 drones from a central Remote Operating Center, allowing Ameriflight to operate its drone delivery service safely and efficiently, while also ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements.
The M2 has been designed for large scale operation with a recent FAA waiver allowing operation of up to 20 drones by a single pilot at Matternet’s California test facility. Both of these capabilities enable Matternet to scale its drone delivery services and bring its best-in-class technology to more customers in the United States.
“As the only unmanned aircraft with both FAA Type and Production certificates, we are now turning our focus to scaling our operations across the U.S. and expanding into e-commerce, while doing so safely and cost-effectively,” said Andreas Raptopoulos, Co-Founder and CEO of Matternet. “We are thrilled to partner with Ameriflight, a leading cargo airline with a strong track record of reliability and performance, to enable the nationwide deployment of our drone delivery system. This partnership enables us to offer our customers turnkey access to fast and reliable on-demand delivery capabilities today. This is not a test program or a future deployment concept – this is the real, scalable and safe drone-based solution that customers are looking for.”
Hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies will be the initial customers, who today rely on ground transport for urgent deliveries of samples to laboratories and pharmaceuticals to patients. This results in slow and unpredictable delivery times, often compromising patient outcomes. In addition to healthcare, Matternet is now expanding into e-commerce, where drone delivery can enable ultra-fast delivery of single packages with dramatically lower carbon dioxide emissions than cars or vans.
As a key part of the supply chain, handling major logistics operations across the nation, Ameriflight averages more than 500 daily departures with over 100,000 combined flight hours and a more than 99% on-time performance record.
“Adding this state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly aircraft and launching our UAS division allows us to expand our service offerings to off-airport alternative sites for time-sensitive small package needs,” said Ameriflight President and CEO Alan Rusinowitz. “Matternet’s technology is at the forefront of autonomous innovation and provides a revolutionary solution for customers. We’re looking forward to launching our first M2 flights very soon, and, as we move forward into future flight, developing additional areas of drone delivery.”