MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.-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.”
Matternet is the leading developer of commercial drone delivery systems for urban and suburban environments. The company ships the Matternet M2 drone and Matternet Software Platform and operates its technology directly for customers or in partnership with logistics organizations, such as UPS. In 2017, Matternet became the first company in the world to be authorized for commercial Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations of drone logistics networks over cities in Switzerland. In 2019, Matternet and UPS partnered to launch drone delivery services in the U.S. and together started the first revenue drone delivery operations in the U.S. In 2022, Matternet M2 became the first drone delivery system to achieve standard Type Certification by the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S. To date, Matternet technology has enabled tens of thousands of commercial flights over dense urban and suburban environments in the US and Europe.
For more information about Matternet, please visit: https://mttr.net.
Ameriflight is the nation’s largest Part 135 cargo airline. Founded in 1968, Ameriflight has grown from a small air charter and cargo service carrier to an international operator with 14 bases, 1,500 weekly departures, and 200 destinations. The company is headquartered in Dallas, TX and has more than 500 employees including over 150 pilots and over 100 aircraft. Ameriflight provides feeder services for overnight express carriers, as well as on-demand cargo charter services for customers with an array of priority shipping needs through its Expedited Supply Chain Solutions department. For more information, visit us at ameriflight.com.