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Business Air News Bulletin
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Merlin earns AOC for NZ freight ops
Upon product certification of the Merlin Pilot by the CAA of New Zealand, Merlin will be fully certified to conduct freight operations on selected regional routes.

Merlin Labs, the Boston, Massachusetts-headquartered developer of safe, autonomous flight technology for fixed-wing aircraft, has received a Part 135 AOC to support future operational freight routes in New Zealand. Upon the Merlin Pilot's completed product certification by the CAA of New Zealand, 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 its Kerikeri centre for operations in May 2023, and has been progressing both organisational and product certification since its Project Specific Certification Plan was first approved by the NZ CAA in August 2021.

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 FAA. In May 2023, Merlin also achieved its state of involvement 1 milestone with the NZ CAA, putting the Merlin Pilot on a viable path to certification and commercial operation.

"Achieving an organisational 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," says CEO and founder Matt George.

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