Merlin awarded Part 135 organisational certification for airfreight operations in New Zealand

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Merlin, the leading developer of safe, autonomous flight technology for fixed-wing aircraft, has announced it received a Part 135 Air Operators Certificate to support future operational freight routes in New Zealand. Upon the Merlin Pilot’s completed product certification by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA), Merlin will be able to conduct critical data collection flights on selected regional freight routes, as well as leverage its dedicated test facility in Kerikeri for current and future certified products. Merlin opened this Kerikeri center for operations in May 2023, and has been progressing both organizational and product certification since its Project Specific Certification Plan (PSCP) was first approved in August 2021 by the CAA.

The data collected during these freight routes is critical for future development decisions that will be implemented globally, as well as ensuring in-air operability and certification of the Merlin Pilot with both the CAA and the Federal Aviation Association (FAA). In May 2023, Merlin also achieved its state of involvement (SOI) 1 milestone with the CAA, putting the Merlin Pilot on a viable path to certification and commercial operation.

“Achieving an organizational Part 135 certification gives us the opportunity to work with a forward-thinking regulator as well as leverage New Zealand as a sandbox for our current and future products. This milestone enables us to continue progressing our technical maturity, ultimately validating the safety and operational effectiveness of the Merlin Pilot for Part 23 certification and beyond,” said Matt George, CEO and founder, Merlin.