Zipline achieves FAA Part 135 certification



Zipline is now authorised to complete the longest range on-demand commercial drone deliveries in the US, after the FAA granted it part 135 certification. 

Zipline’s operations now cover the largest area and greatest distance of any uncrewed commercial aircraft delivery system (UAS) in the US. It is also the first part 135 issued under the FAA’s BEYOND programme — an initiative designed to safely integrate beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations into US airspace.

To date, Zipline has flown more than 23m autonomous miles, including BVLOS operations, and completed more than 325,000 commercial deliveries with its electric aircraft. It currently operates with Walmart in the US, with Toyota Tsusho Corporation in Japan and at national scale in Rwanda and Ghana, where it serves more than 2,000 health care facilities.

“Zipline’s sustainable instant delivery system is transforming healthcare and retail,” said Keller Rinaudo, co-founder & CEO at Zipline. “Today, on average, Zipline makes a delivery every four minutes—ensuring people get access to the products they need, the moment they need them. With our part 135 certification, and in close collaboration with our partners and the FAA, we are one step closer to making safe, clean and quiet instant delivery a reality for communities across the US” 

Under part 135, Zipline will begin flying routes up to 26miles roundtrip, including through Class D airspace. This service is the most complex in the US, and is authorised to fly over people, in controlled airspace and beyond visual line of sight.  

Initial flights will operate out of Zipline’s hub in Kannapolis, North Carolina, which is capable of serving people within a nearly 8,000 square mile area and delivering half a ton of supplies per day. From this facility, Zipline will begin operations with its partners Novant Health, Magellan Rx Management, and Cardinal Health later this month.

In addition to operations in North Carolina, the company plans to launch deliveries in Utah with its partner Intermountain Healthcare later this year, and expand flights with Walmart in Arkansas, which began in November under FAA part 107.  

Part 135 certification follows a period of record global growth for Zipline. The firm has delivered over one million COVID-19 vaccines in Ghana, launched delivery of thousands of retail products in partnership with Walmart and fresh food delivery in Arkansas, begun operations in Nigeria as well as with Toyota Tsusho Corporation in Japan, announced entry into Ivory Coast and Kenya and expanded operations in Rwanda to become the world’s first 24/7 instant logistics service.