Brussels Airport focuses further on drone innovation and plans investment in DronePort
The sector of drones and Advanced Air Mobility is evolving rapidly and offers new development possibilities for the aviation industry. That is why Brussels Airport wants to invest in DronePort, a unique eco-system focused on research, innovation and development in the market of drones and Advanced Air Mobility. With this investment, Brussels Airport wants to further support innovation and development in the field of drones.
DronePort is located at the former air force base of Sint-Truiden, and is an initiative of the Limburg Investment Company LRM, the city of Sint-Truiden, POM Limburg and JK Invest. The development of the site began in 2013, and DronePort wants to stimulate research and innovation by creating an eco-system for the drone and Advanced Air Mobility sector. This eco-system includes both a regional airport and various services including a campus, a drone test site and an incubator that forms a growth platform for companies wanting to develop this new market further.
Brussels Airport has the ambition to play a leading role in the development and application of innovative solutions based on the use of drones. In 2021, Brussels Airport therefore became shareholder of SkeyDrone, a pioneer in the area of drone services and drone management systems. With a contemplated capital injection in DronePort, Brussels Airport would become co-shareholder of DronePort as well.
“By acquiring an interest of 30% in DronePort, we will have the opportunity to adopt a unique position in this emerging industry,” says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company. “We are increasingly investing in the development of innovative technologies and work on various drone projects in the area of airport security and operational efficiency, amongst others. With this participation in DronePort, Brussels Airport wishes to strengthen the development of solutions and services based on drone technology.”
This contemplated capital increase will make it possible for DronePort to further focus on the development of their infrastructure and eco-system and to accelerate this. The partnership of shareholders makes it possible to accelerate the co-creation and to promote the drone community and its developments in Belgium and farther afield. The partners have the collective ambition to expand DronePort to a drone airport with international allure.
“DronePort was founded several years ago, already focusing on the emerging drone industry and was far ahead of its time thanks to the unique test facilities, incubation operation and infrastructure. The entry of Brussels Airport Company will be the start of a new chapter for DronePort, the next step in the life cycle of the company. Brussels Airport is a strong strategic partner with sound aviation knowledge, a clear ambition and an international network that can help DronePort upscale to a reference in the drone sector at European level”, says Tom Vanham, General Director of LRM.
The transaction must still be finalised and approved by the relevant competition authorities and respective governing bodies and is expected to be completed by mid-2023.