Americas Multirotor

Amazon hires lobbyists for drone program



Online retailer Amazon has brought on a major K Street firm to lobby on its proposed drone delivery program.

Amazon Prime Air has hired Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to work on “federal advocacy with regard to testing and operation of [unmanned aerial vehicles] in the US,” according to a new lobbying registration.

In an interview with “60 Minutes” in December, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that his company was working to make same-day drone delivery a reality for consumers in the near future.

Amazon hopes to be able to deliver products to consumers within 30 minutes of an order using a small UAV.

But there are barriers to the operation of commercial drones in the United States — including a lack of regulatory guidance from the country’s aviation authorities.

The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to come forward with a formal set of rules for commercial drones, although it’s expected to propose a final rule by November.

Congress has directed that the FAA that allow commercial drone use by September 2015.

Lobbyists Michael Drobac, Melanie Goggins, Ed Pagano, Jennifer Richter and Greg Walden will work on the account for Akin Gump.

Akin will also lobby on the Marketplace Fairness Act for Amazon — a major overhaul of how sales tax is collected from online retailers. The bill is currently being considered by Congress.

Amazon spent about $3.5 million on lobbying in 2013 with seven outside firms lobbying on its behalf.

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