Manna Aero gets first certificate for drone delivery service

Irish Aviation Authority says application approved after ‘rigorous assessment’

A Manna Aero drone being tested in Oranmore, Co Galway, in October 2020. Photograph: Andrew Downes/Xposure

Drone operator Manna Aero has been awarded the first light unmanned aircraft system operator certificate (LUC) from the Irish regulator, opening up Europe-wide opportunities for the company.

The LUC is recognised across the European Union, following the introduction of the EU drone regulations at the start of the year.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said the application was approved after a "rigorous assessment" of the company's operational capabilities in line with the new regulations.

"The light UAS operator certificate is a very exciting development in EU regulatory terms and provides Irish companies like Manna Aero with access to a potential European market of over half a billion customers," said aviation regulator Diarmuid Ó Conghaile. "Drone services are an important part of the green technology mix in Europe and provide a competitive alternative to traditional service delivery. Our ambition for the new IAA is to facilitate UAS innovation and competitiveness with the highest safety and security standards, ultimately providing benefits to consumers at the end of the supply chain."


Local stores

Manna has been trialling drone deliveries in Oranmore, Co Galway with local service providers, with Tesco, food delivery service Just Eat, Samsung and a number of local stores in Oranmore signing up. The company also provided medical and critical supplies deliveries to residents in Moneygall, Co Offaly during the early months of the pandemic.

"This achievement marks the culmination of our two-year engagement with the IAA and is a strong endorsement for Manna, the nascent European drone delivery industry, and Ireland as a tech epicentre for drone technology," said Manna chief executive Bobby Healy.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist