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Business

Lufthansa swoops on drone market

Germany 's largest airline has seen an opportunity in the commercial drone market and swooped. Lufthansa says it has signed a partnership deal with Chinese firm DJI, one of the world´s leading drone makers.

Announcing its foray into the drone market on Tuesday, Lufthansa said it would offer its potential customers a "one stop shop" to those interested in using drones, with services ranging from data analysis, insurance and pilot training.

Commercial drones equipped with thermal imaging systems are frequently used for tasks such as inspecting aircraft, railway lines, crops, construction and industrial sites.

In some cases, Lufthansa said it would offer to operate the drones for its customers itself; a move which could raise questions as to exactly who the airline does business with.

In its partnership with DJI, Lufthansa Aerial Services (LAS) would make use of the Chinese firm's aerial platforms and develop applications and technology for potential customers.

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DJI is already a well versed partner to guide Lufthansa into the growing drone market, currently holding a 70 percent market share.

Lufthansa is not the only airline to see the utility of drone use. EasyJet has also used drones to inspect its aircraft, while LAS has teamed up with Frankfurt airport operator Fraport and German air traffic controllers to test the possibility of using drones to check runways.

The German carrier will make a decision on whether to fully commit to offering drone services by the end of this year, according to a spokesperson for the group.

hch/uhe (Reuters/Handelsblatt)

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