The Irish Aviation Authority has today issued its first "light UAS operator certificate" (LUC) to Irish drone delivery operator Manna Aero.

Manna Aero was the first company to apply for a LUC after their recent trials of drone delivery services in rural Ireland.

The company's successful application comes after a rigorous assessment of their operational capabilities in line with the new EU drone regulations, which came into force at the start of the year.

The LUC is recognised in all EU Member States and provides drone operators with significant business opportunities across the single market.

Manna uses custom developed aerospace grade drones to deliver products directly to customer's homes. Its drones fly at an altitude of 50-80 metres and a speed of over 60kph.

"The light UAS operator certificate is a very exciting development in EU regulatory terms and provides Irish companies like Manna Aero with access to a potential European market of over half a billion customers," Aviation Regulator Diarmuid Ó Conghaile said.

"Drone services are an important part of the green technology mix in Europe and provide a competitive alternative to traditional service delivery," he said.

Bobby Healy, CEO of Manna Drone Delivery, said that getting the certificate marks the culmination of its two year engagement with the IAA.

He said it marked a strong endorsement for Manna, the nascent European drone delivery industry and Ireland as a tech-epicentre for drone technology.

"We thank EASA, and IAA for their vision and leadership, our delivery partners, and of course our wonderful trial customers in Oranmore and Moneygall for helping us to get this far," Mr Healy said.