UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)

Project purpose

Cargo Drones have demonstrated the ability to provide low-cost, reliable and just-in-time delivery to difficult to reach areas. These aspects are ideally suited for the transport of medical goods for both routine public health needs as well as for humanitarian emergency preparedness and response. With 3.4 billion people living in such areas and disposable income rising, the need for rural access to reliable healthcare services is increasing.

Project objective(s)

The project initiates the potential use of UAV in the Life Science and Medtech Airfreight industry.

Our aim is to collaborate with all members of the supply-chain to reduce the delivery time of pharmaceuticals using innovative solutions such as drones. And by this, understand the opportunities to link the traditional airfreight business model and the drone technologies.

Project status and key-takeaways

Project ongoing, following the steps:

  • Work Package 1: Host and exclusive webinar for the members of both organisations ( and HLA) on June 15, 2021, followed by a survey. The results of the survey and insights gathered amongst the presenters, the attendees and the project group were outlined in a White Paper. This first report examined the competitive positioning of UAV against other transportation modes, the regulatory framework for drone operations and applications of UAV in the Pharma and Humanitarian Air Cargo sector.
  • Work Package 2: Create a 360° interactive video to showcase drone lab technologies, different types of drones and drone operations. This video is now available for members only.
  • Work Package 3: Map the journey of the Covid-19 vaccines from the manufacture point in Europe to the arm of the patient in Malawi. Draft a list of recommendations on how to optimize the end-to-end transportation by shortening the supply chain and linking both traditional airfreight and drone worlds. Disseminate a theoretical proof of concept (technical report and white paper). See here the video of the Vaccines transportation from Belgium to Malawi. Read the White Paper HERE.

Project support and collaboration

  • Board liaison and project leads: Edmonton International Airport and Sharjah Airport
  • Project members: Astral Aviation, Astral Aerial Solutions, Pfizer, MSD, Johnson & Johnson, Zoetis, va-Q-tec and 30 members respondents to the survey (WP1)
  • Project external support: HLA (the Humanitarian Logistics Association)
  • Project manager (WP1 and 2): Ricardo Entz, Elemental-Future (external consultant)
  • Project manager (WP3): Olivier Defawe, VillageReach (external consultant)

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