FAA Grants Amazon Prime Air Approval for BVLOS Drone Deliveries

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted Amazon Prime Air permission to operate drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). This approval allows Prime Air to expand its drone delivery service to more customers and scale operations across the U.S.

Image: Amazon.

Prime Air’s BVLOS operations rely on detect-and-avoid technology. This system enables drones to autonomously navigate obstacles, ensuring safe flight operations. Amazon provided the FAA detailed engineering data and conducted flight demonstrations, which included real-world scenarios involving planes and hot air balloons, to validate the system’s safety.

With this approval, Prime Air will extend its delivery area in College Station, Texas, using its MK-27 drone airframe. The service will integrate into Amazon’s existing delivery network, with drones deploying from facilities adjacent to Same-Day Delivery sites. This integration will enable faster delivery of household essentials and other products.

Prime Air received an Air Carrier Certificate in 2020, allowing it to operate as an airline. The new BVLOS approval builds on this, enabling Amazon to reach more densely populated areas. The company’s drones are designed to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less, with the goal of delivering 500 million packages annually by the end of the decade.