Astral's unmanned innovation scoops IATA award
IATA has named Kenya based Astral Aerial Solutions as the winner of the IATA Air Cargo Innovation Award for 2017, for the company's Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) Concept for Africa.
The award was presented at the 11th World Cargo Symposium (WCS) in Abu Dhabi this week.
Astral’s project seeks to lay the foundation for safe, secure and effective UAS operations and integration into existing airspace to ultimately allow the expansion of air cargo in Africa.
Glyn Hughes, IATA’s Global Head of Cargo described the system as an outstanding achievement. “I hope the $20,000 first prize will help in its development. It is great to see a developing nation company helping to drive the innovation that is needed throughout the global air cargo industry,” he said.
“We are delighted to be recognized for our innovative UTM Concept for Africa project. Drone technology has strong potential to boost the continent’s air connectivity and deliver goods and services to remote regions and more critical lifesaving products to those in need,” said Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO of Astral Aviation.
“We hope to be able to develop a pathway that will encourage regulators, operators and manufacturers to come together and pave the way forward for safe and efficient UAS use in the continent,” said Geoffrey Nyaga the project’s manager.