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Bulgarian startup Dronamics launches a cargo drone airline

Dronamics Black Swan Prototype
Image credit: Dronamics, the prototype of the autonomous Black Swan aircraft
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On March 31, 2021, Bulgarian startup Dronamics, specializing in the development and operations of autonomous cargo drones, announced that it is launching Dronamics Airline with legal entities in Ireland, Canada, and Australia. The three newly founded subsidiaries are incorporated in the respective countries because of advanced drone regulations, but also because those are the regions where Dronamics will have its first customer cases that will be serviced in e-commerce, pharma, and spare parts logistics.

The airline will facilitate the first air freight same-day delivery service that relies on the autonomous Black Swan aircraft of the company. Designed to carry 350 kg of cargo for up to 2500 km, the unmanned cargo drone will potentially be used to connect the economies of remote cities and communities while lowering the cost of shipping around the world. The news comes after Dronamics kicked off the first world’s cargo droneport network at the beginning of December 2020, introducing partnerships with over 30 European airports and sharing the locations of 5 of them – Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Italy, and Sweden.

With the new development, the Dronamics team will be able to service the specific customer cases in the selected markets and obtain local flight authorizations under the recently implemented EASA drone regulations for Europe and respectively under the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for Australia and Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) for Canada, company officials shared.

As part of the build-up for the start of its commercial operations, Dronamics also announced the appointment of an experienced Chief Operating Officer (COO) – Sergio Oliveira e Silva, who comes with over 25 years in executive-level positions with some of the industry’s largest companies within different international regions. Silva will be responsible for the set-up and operations of the airline business, the deployment of the droneport network, and the upcoming regulatory authorizations.

“This is an important milestone for us and we are thrilled by the talent we are attracting to our organization that is embracing our vision to democratize airfreight. We will continue enhancing our experienced management team who will provide additional expertise to deliver our first commercial flight in a near future,” commented Svilen Rangelov, Co-Founder and CEO at Dronamics.

The three next milestones for Dronamics are to finish the full-scale prototype of its unmanned aircraft, successfully test flight campaigns, and obtain operational authorizations by major EU and aerospace organizations.

The story in a nutshell

Established in 2014 by aerospace engineer Konstantin Rangelov and his brother, Svilen Rangelov, the company has always aimed to liberalize air shipping by reducing costs. With an initial team of around 14 people, in the suburbs of Sofia, Bulgaria, the Rangelov brothers have managed to develop the prototype of their unmanned cargo drone. When compared with traditional airplane cargo, the Black Swan can supposedly lower transportation costs by up to 80%, Dronamics claims. The company has been supported by Bulgarian Eleven Capital, FoundersFactory, and Speedinvest, as well as by a number of Angel investors and entrepreneurs from Europe, Asia, the US, and Africa. Currently headquartered in both Sofia and London, the startup outstood as the first Strategic Partner of The International Air Transport Association (IATA) for drones and was ranked as one of the top 10 EU-Africa startups by the European Commission. 

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Etien Yovchev is a co-founder and Chief Editor at The Recursive, online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. He has told the stories of over 200 ventures from the region and aims to provide high-quality constructive reporting on the progress of the SEE innovation ecosystem, making sure that the stories of promising local founders reach global audiences. Etien holds a MSc degree in Innovation Management from RSM, Erasmus University Rotterdam and has more than 4 years of experience in the commercialization of new products, having worked with many early-stage companies and a few corporate innovation departments across Bulgaria, The Netherlands, and the USA.