Garuda Indonesia has entered into a partnership with Beihang UAS Technology to use BKZ-005 unmanned aerial vehicles to transport cargo in Indonesia.
In the initial stage, Garuda will take three of the UAVs, which will be capable of carrying up to 1.2t of cargo, with an endurance of 1,200km while flying at an altitude of up to 5,000m.
Testing the UAVs will take place in September, with plans to begin operational deployments in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The SkyTeam carrier says it plans to deploy up to 100 UAVs across Indonesia for its cargo operations, as part of a wider focus on growing its domestic cargo operations.
"The use of UAVs is an ideal option for the carrier to seize market demand and cargo revenue opportunities, particularly in connecting the remote regions with limited airport facilities such as those in Maluku, Papua, and Sulawesi," says Garuda's cargo and business development director Mohammad Iqbal.
"Right now we are intensively coordinating with the stakeholders from the regulation and its operational management to ensure a smooth [operation]. We will begin testing the UAV technology in terms of airport feasibility, runway, navigation, air traffic control, meteorology and its related aspects sometime in September 2019".
The BZK-005 is a high-altitude, long-range UAV designed by Beihang UAS Technology, an offshoot of Beijing-based Beihang University. It is being pitched at logistics companies for the development of drone delivery networks.