Skyports Drone Services has entered a strategic partnership with Australian drone manufacturer Carbonix to expand beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations across Australia, utilizing long-range vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.
In the inaugural phase of the collaboration, Skyports will deploy specialist international drone pilots within Carbonix. These pilots will leverage their flight experience to conduct regular data acquisition missions for Carbonix’s energy infrastructure and mining partners. This collaboration is aimed at refining the capabilities of Carbonix drone systems and enhancing operating procedures with the ultimate goal of bolstering Carbonix’s operational capabilities.
Skyports Drone Services, active across multiple continents including Europe, Asia, and Africa, is known for providing logistics, survey, and monitoring operations to diverse sectors such as healthcare, cargo and delivery, and energy production. This partnership signifies Skyports’ maiden commercial venture in Australia.
Carbonix CEO, Philip van der Burg expressed his enthusiasm, stating,
“We’re really excited to be partnering with an experienced and trusted global operator.”
He acknowledges the pivotal role of Skyports in enriching BVLOS capabilities through their scalable end-to-end operational experience in flying fixed-wing VTOL UAVs. Van der Burg anticipates a fruitful exchange of knowledge and expertise between both entities.
The partnership is poised to leverage Skyports’ extensive pilot resources and experience to provide uncrewed aerial data acquisition at scale to Australian businesses aiming to update infrastructure inspections. Skyports Director, Alex Brown highlighted the company's comprehensive approach, focusing not just on flying but also on regulation, compliance, safety management, airspace, and stakeholder management. Brown looks forward to applying this multifaceted knowledge to augment operational capabilities and facilitate the scaling of infrastructure inspection services in collaboration with Carbonix. He emphasized the significance of proving the safety case for drone operations for the sustained growth and success of the industry.
Matt Sturdy, the first Remote Pilot from Skyports to land in Australia, specializes in BVLOS aerial survey and inspection and has spearheaded numerous deployments across the UK and Europe. Sturdy has been instrumental in the initial stages of the partnership, focusing on developing top-notch safety procedures, customer demonstrations, and training with the Volanti aircraft to support the development of UAS use cases in Australia.
Since the onset of the partnership, over 85 long-range missions have been supported by Skyports, spanning over 1,500 km across Australia, and assisting companies like Hitachi Vintara and Charles Darwin University in inspecting power infrastructure for vegetation encroachment and asset management.
Additional pilots from Skyports are set to join in early October to aid Carbonix in expanding and optimizing its BVLOS capabilities. The long-term vision of this partnership is to establish a world-class operator training program to nurture local talent, a crucial step towards the advancement of long-distance drone operations in the country.