UPS Air Cargo Carrier
Xwing Eyes Autonomous Flight
August 8, 2022
aviation company Xwing, made significant milestones, including the
expansion of its commercial cargo operations under FAA CFR Part 135 Air
Carrier certificate, the addition of FAA CFR Part 145 certificates and
rapid company growth. Over the last twelve months, Xwing has more than
tripled its team to 180 employees.
Xwing has completed the acquisition of Martinaire Aviation, a
Texas-based FAR Part 135 air cargo carrier with over 40 years of
experience throughout the United States. This acquisition comes on the
heels of last year’s successful acquisition of AirPac Airlines, another
feeder cargo operator based in the Pacific Northwest.
These acquisitions, combined with organic growth, now bring Xwing’s
total cargo fleet to 35 aircraft flying more than 400 weekly commercial
flights across the U.S., making the company one of the larger Cessna
208B operators in the cargo feeder market. To date, Xwing has completed
close to 10,000 flights, carrying 4.9 million pounds of cargo over 1
million miles. These operations have been done within global logistics
leader UPS’ (United Parcel Service) regional air cargo network.
As the company continues to build up the set of regulatory approvals
needed for autonomous flight operations, in addition to Xwing’s Part 135
Air Carrier Certificate, Xwing now also operates two Part 145 certified
aircraft maintenance facilities, significantly expanding its
capabilities beyond flight operations to maintenance, inspection and
aircraft modification services.
“Our commercial cargo operations are key to our certification approach.
When it comes to integrating unmanned aircraft in the airspace, the FAA
operational approvals are just as important as certification of the
technology on board the aircraft,” said Marc Piette, CEO and founder at
Xwing. “Using data gathered from our commercial cargo routes, we can
continuously optimize and refine our system end to end, and get to the
best solution for our customers.”
Xwing began commercial cargo operations in 2020, flying peak season
routes out of Phoenix, AZ. While Xwing continues its work towards
certifying autonomous flight technology with the FAA, the company’s
commercial cargo flights have been conducted by pilots flying standard,
unmodified Cessna Caravan airplanes under its Part 135 certificate.
These operations now occur at 58 airports across 14 U.S. states,
including North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, Oregon and Washington.
primary goal for expanding its commercial air cargo operations is to
continue sharpening its operational capabilities across all aspects of
air cargo and to streamline the rollout of its autonomous technologies
within its fleet once certified. The company has demonstrated fully
autonomous gate-to-gate capabilities since February 2021, including the
ability to autonomously taxi on and off the runway successfully while
navigating various obstacles and operations on the ground. Xwing’s
technology can lead to fuel savings through improved routing and
optimized ground and air operations.
From two routes in 2020, expanding to nine routes and adding North
Carolina and the Pacific Northwest in 2021, to now operating over 33
daily routes across the U.S., Xwing continues to be a leader in the
regional air mobility market.
These milestones come on the heels of Xwing’s recent placement on Fast
Company’s World Changing Ideas list within the transportation category,
and the appointment of former FAA executive Earl Lawrence to the
company’s c-suite to lead its certification efforts.