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Brussels Airport launches into the drones business with a 50% stake in the start-up


If you can’t beat them, buy them. This is apparently the attitude of Brussels Airport, which has taken a 50% stake in a start-up of specialized services which ensures the safe and efficient operation of the same drones currently banned in the air around the busiest aeronautical hub of Belgium.

Brussels Airport Company, which operates the eponymous airline platform, has announced that it has acquired a 50% stake in SkeyDrones, a company offering software-based services that help drone operators and authorities manage safe drone flights. and efficient. It is no coincidence that SkeyDrones is also a subsidiary of skeyes, the air traffic control group which ensures that passenger planes to and from Brussels Airport take off and land in peaceful coexistence.

The new corporate threesome aims to enable Brussels Airport Company and skeye to fully exploit the growing commercial potential of drones, while keeping this separate from their core business as a commercial airline.

Brussels Airport states that its objectives in partnering with skeyes in the startup are to pursue drone applications such as delivery and future air taxi services in a way that is fully compatible with its core business of passenger air transport. By pooling their knowledge, expertise and experience in operating one of the busiest air platforms in Europe, Brussels Airport and skeyes believe they can find the secret sauce of a full integration of planes and drones in the same safe airspace – with SkeyDrones at the heart of it.

“Brussels Airport’s investment in SkeyDrone is strategic and goes beyond investing in drone know-how and technology,” said Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.It is an investment in the co-creation of the future of unmanned air traffic … With SkeyDrone, we can fully explore, develop and market drone management systems and drone services that can be used daily by clients from various industries.

However, it will not be a marriage of absolute equals. Although Brussels Airport Company will take a 50% stake in the drone start-up, it will own exactly less than half a share, leaving Skeye in de facto majority control. But despite this apparent distrust of companies to share total decision-making power, it seems obvious that skeye is delighted with the deeper pockets that Brussels Airport Company brings to the effort to develop SkeyDrone’s UAV activity more rapidly.

Drones are becoming ubiquitous in airspace, and it is our job to let them take their place safely among existing air traffic, says Johan Decuyper, CEO of skeyes.. “As users of airspace, airports know the challenges this entails better than anyone. skeyes and SkeyDrone therefore attach great importance to the knowledge of Brussels Airport Company on developments concerning drones and the needs of airports to face this new reality. By participating in SkeyDrone, we can now count on their direct contribution. skeyes has set up this type of partnership for several areas of its activity, in perfect harmony with our strategy.

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