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The Federal Aviation Administration Has Granted Amazon Prime Air to Begin Drone Delivery Within a Test Range

September 04, 2020 / Matt Leonard

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted Amazon Prime Air a Part 135 exemption in the form of a standard operating certificate, which allows the company to begin drone delivery within a test range, according to documents from the agency and confirmation from the retailer. Amazon said it estimated the test would initially involve 10 houses, according to the exemption. It did not provide details on where these homes would be located. Prime Air has development centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, France and Israel, a spokesperson said when asked about the test range location. Amazon told the FAA it would just carry 5-pound payloads, and said drones will be important in realizing 30-minute delivery. The exemption specifically covers the MK27 drone, the Amazon-manufactured drone that was unveiled at re:MARS in August 2019. "Amazon envisions that the MK27 would be capable of delivering up to 85% of the products Amazon sells to a variety of customer locations and designated drop-off points," the exemption reads. The certificate of authorization specifically limits the operation to a test range, and if Amazon wants to expand its operation, it will need to go through the process of amending the approval or get an entirely new one, according to the FAA.