Kenya’s Astral Aviation is looking at an initial investment of about US$500,000 into cargo UAV technology, which could be used to deliver small cargos to remote areas of Kenya and if air regulations and licenses in the region permitted, to neighbouring countries.
Astral Aviation’s CEO, Sanjeev Gadhia made the comments to local media after the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) held the first of at least two stakeholder meetings discussing the upcoming new air service regulations for the use of UAVs in the Kenyan skies.
Gadhia expressed his hope that by early 2017 the legal and regulatory framework would be in place to begin setting up a commercial UAV operation, which could be the first in Africa. Currently the KCAA limits civilian-operted drones to flight ceilings of 130 meters and requires pilots to obtain security clearance from the Ministry of Defence.
Astral operates a small fleet of cargo aircraft including DC9-34F, B727-200F, and Fokker F27-500F aircraft that focus primarily on the Eastern African region. The airline also operates a leased B747-400F for flights to and from key European cargo hubs.