ASL Future Flight awarded IAA’s light UAS operator certificate


ASL Future Flight has been awarded a Light UAS Aircraft Systems Operator Certificate (LUC) by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

The LUC is an optional operational certificate which offers the possibility to start commercial drone operations without an operational authorisation from the IAA. Ops include short-range cargo operations which would typically allow the delivery of small packages up to about 5Kgs.

ASL Airlines Ireland (ASLI), of which Future Flight is a subsidiary, is one of seven airlines in the Dublin based ASL Aviation Holdings group operating cargo flights globally for the express parcel and e-commerce markets. ASLI has a fleet of 40 aircraft and customers include FedEx, DHL and Amazon.

“Cargo will play a key role in the development of new flight technologies,” said ASL Airlines Ireland MD, John Rawl. “This LUC shows ASL’s commitment to be ready, willing and able as unmanned aircraft become larger and capable of operating over wider networks delivering cargo up to 500kgs or more.”

ASL Future Flight’s LUC allows for operations under PDRA-S01, which is a Pre-defined Risk Assessment scenario published by EASA and adopted by the IAA. It authorises flights by a drone less than 3m in diameter with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 25kg. ASL Future Flight will begin training and flight testing while considering plans for unmanned flight using larger drones. These will require a Certified Category Authorisation very similar to an airline Air Operators Certificate.

UAS manager for the IAA, Enda Walsh said: “ASL Future Flight are only the third operator to obtain a Light UAS Operator Certificate from the IAA. It is a reflection of ASL’s strong organisational structure, safety management system and staff competencies. We look forward to working with ASL as they continue to grow and develop.”

Dublin-based Avtrain has worked closely with ASL Future Flight to develop the manual suite for the LUC including the operations manual. Avtrain CEO, Julie Garland, said: “The future of flight is here and to see such a significant player as ASL Airlines being awarded a LUC is a huge stepping stone to full scale eVTOL operations.”

ASL is exploring new flight technologies through ASL CargoVision, a forum of fifteen companies involved in unmanned flight, large drone or unmanned aircraft and sustainable flight using hybrid electric and hydrogen fuels.

Rawl added: “Through ASL CargoVision, ASL Future Flight will be at the forefront of new aircraft development and operations create new capabilities for local and regional cargo transportation using clean, zero-emissions unmanned flights.”