British Post Office delivers parcels in Orkney using drones

11. 08. 2023 | Kristýna Bezděková

Britain’s Royal Mail has started using drones to deliver mail on the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland. This could pave the way for parcels to be delivered by this method both in the archipelagos around the UK and on the British mainland, particularly during emergencies.

The drones, which can carry parcels weighing up to six kilograms, operate between the town of Stromness on Orkney’s largest island and the smaller islands of Hoy and Graemsay. It is the first permanent Royal Mail service of its kind.

Thanks to drones, the Post Office is able to provide a faster and safer delivery service that does not rely on ferries or scheduled air services, which are often disrupted by weather or sea conditions, or timetables that may not always suit the Post Office, reports The Guardian.

Head of drone trials Chris Paxton says drones are much faster and more efficient and help reduce carbon emissions. But their downside is that, for air safety reasons, they can only fly when operators on both islands can see them at all times.

In addition, the drone postal service, which is a joint project between the UK Post Office, Skyports Drone Service, Orkney Islands Port Authority and Logan Air, is expensive. The first phase will last three months and the costs will be covered by the UK Department for Transport. However, the cost of the shipments has not been disclosed.

This is not the first experiment with a similar postal service among the Scottish islands. In 1930, German rocket engineer Gerhard Zucker twice tried to use envelope-filled rockets to carry mail between the islands of Harris and Scarp in the Outer Hebrides. However, both exploded.


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Kristýna Bezděková

Kristýna is a student of marketing and communication in an undergraduate program. She writes and translates content into the Czech language


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