Today, at the Farnborough International Airshow, Dubai-based unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) company Falcon Drones Technology and Nairobi-based cargo carrier Astral Aviation agreed that the airline will purchase two of Falcon’s Lucas-F250 drones (pictured), with an option to purchase another 10 of the aircraft next year.
The drone has an endurance of 10 hours, a range 1,500 kilometers, a cruise speed of 150 kilometers per hour and a cargo capacity of about 250 kilograms.
Astral, which has a small fleet of 737-400Fs and 747-400Fs, operates air cargo services in Sudan, Tanzania, Somalia and Rwanda, connecting to European hubs Liège and London Stansted that import perishables products like flowers from East Africa.
The implementation of drones into Astral’s network could promote regional connectivity for the transportation of smaller amounts of cargo short distances and fulfill a need for last-mile services, the carrier said.
“The Falcon Drones technology is truly groundbreaking,” said Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO of Astral Aviation. “It brings with it the exciting prospect of further expansion in the wider East Africa region.”