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Amazon asks FAA for permission to fly drones

The Amazon PrimeAir drone would be part of the retailer’s plan to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

Amazon/Reuters

The Amazon PrimeAir drone would be part of the retailer’s plan to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

NEW YORK — Amazon is asking the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to use drones as part of its plan to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

The news sent shares of the nation’s largest e-commerce company up nearly 6 percent on Friday.

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The online retailer created a media frenzy in December when it outlined a plan on CBS’s ‘‘60 Minutes’’ program to deliver packages with self-guided aircraft that seemed straight out of science fiction.

In a letter to the FAA dated Wednesday, Amazon said it is developing aerial vehicles as part of Amazon Prime Air. The aircraft can travel over 50 miles per hour and carry loads of up to 5 pounds.

The FAA allows hobbyists and model aircraft makers to fly drones, but commercial use is mostly banned. Amazon is asking for an exemption so it can test its drones in the United States. The Seattle company says its drone testing will take place only over Amazon’s private property.

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