Flytrex can now reach 100,000 potential customers in North Carolina and Texas, following approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, the drone delivery company announced Thursday.
The approval from the FAA substantially increases the delivery radius for the company, which uses drones to deliver restaurant and retail orders in minutes. Flytrex completes thousands of deliveries every month using three operating stations in North Carolina and one in Texas. It launched in North Carolina in 2020 and expanded to Granbury, Texas, outside of Dallas-Fort Worth, earlier this year.
Co-founder and CEO Yariv Bash said in an interview that the expansion from 40,000 customers is the result of "a step-by-step process" the company has followed with the FAA for nearly five years. The approval doubles Flytrex's drone delivery radius from one nautical mile — which it was approved for last year — to two nautical miles.
"For this to work, it has to be at scale," Bash said of the drone delivery business.
The company will ramp up its service gradually to make sure the customer experience isn't affected and current safety levels are maintained, Bash said. Adding more drones is a priority during the expansion, as average transit times will increase to service customers further away.
Flytrex has more than 15 partnerships with national restaurant chains and retailers, Bash said. Retailers and restaurants with locations available for Flytrex delivery include Target, Starbucks and Whataburger, according to Flytrex's app. Customers place an order to nearby stores via the app, and a drone lowers the order via a wire into their yards.
Several companies beyond Flytrex are making their own expansions for delivery services involving drones. Amazon recently announced its plans for Prime Air drone delivery for customers in Lockeford, California, and College Station, Texas, while Zipline is set to make deliveries in Washington state for a not-for-profit healthcare provider.