The coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for many, and the drone industry is not immune. The drone industry has had its own set of challenges, from cancelled in-person drone events to small business owners losing out on work. A month into U.S. coronavirus lockdowns, and 44% of drone companies said they experienced a negative impact on their business operations. And projections for the 2021 drone industry don’t look amazing either.
One more big company took a big hit this year: GE Aviation. A spokesperson for GE Aviation confirmed that the company has made job cuts, and that AiRXOS is among the branches that is undergoing changes.
“GE Aviation made cuts earlier in the year to manage the COVID downturn, and to remain competitive, they continue to evaluate every aspect of the overall business for cost and value,” a spokesperson for GE Aviation told the Drone Girl. “AiRXOS, being part of GE Aviation, is not immune to that process.”
Reports of potential GE Aviation layoffs were first surfaced by Mike Blades, a drone industry consultant and analyst.
GE Aviation would not give exact numbers, but a spokesperson added that “I can tell you we are looking at various options to meet current economic and market conditions. Clearly the aviation industry has been hard hit by COVID-19.”
GE Aviation layoffs aren’t the only ones when it comes to big company taking a hit this year. Just last month, The Financial Times confirmed that dozens of workers would be laid off from Amazon’s drone delivery arm called Amazon Prime Air — primarily those working in R&D and manufacturing on the Amazon delivery drone team.
AiRXOS is primarily known for building an end-to-end UAS Traffic Management system — basically air traffic control for drones. This summer, AiRXOS launched AiRXOS Enterprise Energy Solution, a UTM product specific to energy companies. It also recently participated in a massive UTM test that served as the sort of finale to the second phase of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management Pilot Program (UTM/UPP).
Still, the GE Aviation layoffs aren’t necessarily an indication that UTM is slowing — and other companies are growing as others are shrinking. For example, just this month, Pen Aviation Sdn Bhd, which is a surveying company primarily focused on Oil & Gas, Logistics, Transportation markets in Southeast Asia announced plans to collaborate with Unifly.
Pen Aviation will distribute Unifly’s software solutions, and also package them into their products and services, providing a fully integrated, certifiable, and highly customizable system for customers to integrate drones into their operations.