Melbourne, Australia: The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted renewed efforts
by Ministries of Health across the world to strengthen the local health supply chain and rapidly distribute COVID-19 medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE). In Malawi, the rapid scaling up of the existing Swoop Aero air logistics network and optimisation of established flight routes has been made possible through the operations of Swoop Aero. The Australian aeromedical logistics company is tripling its Malawian drone fleet following a rapid increase in network utilisation to support continued expansion in the South of the country.
Eric Peck, CEO and co-founder of Swoop Aero, said “As COVID gripped the world during March and April, we saw the volume of medical supplies and samples being carried by the Swoop Aero fleet rise by 300%. We’ve invested in our Malawi fleet to support continued expansion of the network, and are ready to conduct up to 150 flights a day if needed to support COVID-19 response.”
Swoop Aero’s network provides improved access to essential health supplies to over 650,000 people in the Nsanje and Chikwawa districts in Southern Malawi. The service is continuing to improve access to healthcare by building an on demand, agile and responsive health supply chain. Whilst the aircraft are currently piloted from Australia, the network on the ground in Malawi is fully operated by a local Malawian workforce. Due to the rapid scaling up of the Malawian network, the company is planning to commence recruitment of additional Malawian team members, including pilots. “We are preparing to hire up to 20 ground technical team members and pilots in the coming months” says Eric Peck
Swoop Aero in partnership with Frontier Technology Livestreaming, the UK Government Department for International Development (DFID) Malawi, and UNICEF currently operate a multidrone aeromedical logistics network in the South of Malawi to assist and support the Malawian Ministry of Health achieve national health targets, outlined in the Health Sector Strategic Plan II (2017-2022) as well as support the national government’s rapid pandemic response.