KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — Raya Airways Sdn Bhd is set to be the first freight service provider in Asean to operate cargo drones after embarking on a proof of commercialisation (POC) with Pen Aviation Sdn Bhd to demonstrate the commercial viability of utilising unmanned automated vehicle (UAV) to transport goods.

A joint statement by both parties today said the POC is aimed at unlocking prospects for Raya Airways’ freight services with the utilisation of Pen Aviation’s medium-size cargo drone, PEN55V.

“The final objective for Raya Airways is to enhance ‘drone-as-a-service (DaaS)’ to its offering by operating a mixed fleet of PEN55V and PEN1360V, Pen Aviation’s heavy size cargo drones.

“The POC will specifically explore the deployment of drones to facilitate port logistics, entailing logistics and distribution activities for goods at commercial ports,” it said.

It said apart from adapting to the changing logistics landscape, the usage of drones would also allow Raya Airways to improve cost optimisation and enhance environmental sustainability as drones optimise energy consumption, thus reducing carbon emissions.

The statement said the POC is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2021 to undertake port logistics missions jointly conducted by Raya Airways and Pen Aviation, in accordance with the Civil Aviation Directive CAD 6011, a regulation by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia.

It said the drones would be operated by certified pilots to pick up and drop off packages weighing up to 12 kilogrammes (kg) with a distance of up to 50 kilometres from containers on cargo ships to the port and vice versa.

“With increasing demand for efficient and cost-effective freight forwarding services, the POC is timely as it paves the way for Raya Airways to strengthen our position as a mid-mile provider and build future capabilities to serve Asia and the Asia Pacific region, with a cargo drone fleet capable of flying up to 1,000kg of goods.

“Additionally, this is aligned with our collective vision for a more sustainable business model, particularly in the areas of environmental and green logistics, as the usage of drones is envisioned to play a pivotal role in contributing to net zero emissions, accelerating our sustainability efforts for environmental preservation,” Raya Airways Group managing director Mohamad Najib Ishak said.

He added that beyond port operation, Raya Airways is aiming to introduce the usage of drones in the field of surveillance and maritime in the future. — Bernama