The United States government has suspended its agreement with Amazon.com Inc. to fly drones over the country as a result of a federal investigation into whether it violated rules for air traffic controllers that were put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The FAA, which is overseeing the contract, is investigating whether the FAA overstepped its authority by awarding the drone contracts to the two companies without the required approvals.
Amazon has said that the suspension is a “mutual decision” and that it will seek a new contract.
“It’s unfortunate that the FAA has decided to suspend the contract for a company that’s not complying with its regulatory authority,” Amazon said in a statement.
“The company has been transparent with us on our process and we are confident that they are going to abide by their own policies and procedures.”
The FAA said it would continue to conduct air traffic control audits of the two vendors.
Amazon said the suspensions were related to the FAA’s investigation into how the FAA was awarding drones to Amazon.
“We continue to work with the FAA on the matter, and we look forward to resuming full operations as soon as possible,” Amazon spokesman Mark Barden said.
“Our goal is to provide safe and reliable service to our customers, and these actions will ensure that that continues to be the case.”
The suspensions are the latest in a series of controversies for Amazon.
Earlier this year, the company suspended operations of two of its delivery drones over Florida, citing safety concerns about the pilots who operated them.
The company said the two pilots had been suspended pending the outcome of the FAA investigation.
“For a number of reasons, we decided not to renew our FAA-approved contract with the pilot who operated the drones,” Barden wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
“While we cannot speak to the details of the pilot’s case, we believe the FAA did the right thing by suspending his pilot certification.
We’re hopeful that the investigation into his actions will be resolved in the near future.”
The Associated National News contributed to this report.