An offshoot of Alphabet's Google has become the first drone operator to receive government approval as an airline, an important step that gives it the legal authority to begin dropping products to actual customers.
The subsidiary, Wing Aviation LLC, now has the same certifications that smaller airlines receive from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation. It plans to begin routine deliveries of small consumer items in two rural communities in Virginia within months, the company said.
"It's an exciting moment for us to have earned the FAA's approval to actually run a business with our technology," Wing Chief Executive Officer James Ryan Burgess said in an interview. He called it "pivotal" both for his company and the drone industry in general.