German Airways and Wingcopter enter into partnership for offshore drone delivery

German Airways parent company Zeitfracht Group has entered into a partnership with drone manufacturer Wingcopter, with the aim of deploying unmanned aircraft worldwide for offshore drone delivery to wind farms and sailing ships. The drones will be deployed from the second half of 2024. A total of 132 delivery drones of the Wingcopter 198 type will be purchased for this purpose.

Logistical Challenges

The construction and maintenance of offshore wind farms for the purpose of the energy transition entails considerable logistical challenges. For example, special spare parts have to be transferred regularly. At the moment this is still done by ship or helicopter, but delivery drones will be considered for this in the future. These are expected to be able to transport parts to offshore locations faster, cheaper and safer.

The German Zeitfracht Group – parent company of German Airways – has therefore entered into a partnership with the also German company . The Wingcopter 198 drones from this manufacturer have a payload of up to five kilograms and can cover distances between 75 and 110 kilometers. In addition, the drones are exceptionally wind and weather-resistant. They take off vertically, without the need for additional infrastructure, and then continue flying horizontally like a normal airplane. Thanks to their 100% electric propulsion, Wingcopter delivery drones also contribute to zero-emission logistics.

Initially, the drones will be stationed at Rostock , located on the Baltic Sea. This airport is owned by Zeitfracht Group and is perfect for conducting test flights. Shipping company OPUS Marine is also involved in the project. This company specializes in maritime logistics and is also part of Zeitfracht Group.

German Airways And Wingcopter Enter Into Partnership For Offshore Drone Delivery

Offshore drone delivery fleet

In 2023, 17 drones of the Wingcopter 198 type will be purchased. In 2024, the drone fleet will be expanded with another 115 drones. The drones will eventually be used not only to supply wind farms at sea but also to deliver packages to moving ships. That requires extreme precision. German Airways and Wingcopter will collaborate intensively to develop this feature.

German Airways already holds an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and already meets the essential requirements to use Wingcopter’s delivery drones in the Specific category and later in the Certified category. In addition, German Airways is also IOSA certified and thus operates according to the highest internationally agreed standards of the international aviation authority IATA.

Step forward

Zeitfracht CEO Wolfram Simon-Schröter: “At the Zeitfracht Group we are very creative and always interested in the market-leading deployment of new technologies. We believe that the time is now right for commercial use of drones, for example for the supply of spare parts to offshore wind farms. With German Airways, our Rostock Airport and the experience of our shipping company OPUS in deliveries at sea, we have the ideal conditions together with Wingcopter to take this technology a huge step forward.”

German Airways And Wingcopter Enter Into Partnership For Offshore Drone Delivery 1

This article first appeared on Dronewatch and is written by Wiebe de Jager who is also a DroneXL contributor.

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Wiebe de Jager

Wiebe de Jager (@wdejager) is the founder of Dronewatch and author of several bestselling books about drone photography. Wiebe is a certified drone pilot and has a full ROC license.

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