American multinational delivery company United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) announced Tuesday that it had been granted permission by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate its own drone delivery airline. This gives UPS an edge over e-commerce giant Amazon and Google-parent company Alphabet Inc. — two powerful corporations that are also dealing with regulators on approval for drone-delivery initiatives. 

The drones will be used by the UPS Flight Forward subsidiary, with the company initially expanding "its drone delivery further to support hospital campuses around the country, and to provide solutions for customers beyond those in the health industry," it says in a company press release.

The FAA's part 135 certification granted to the company will allow them to fly drones out of the operator's line of sight, with UPS chief executive officer David Abney calling the move "history in the making." 

Abney hopes UPS could include 100 or more hospital complexes for delivery operations within months of Tuesday's FAA approval.

E-commerce company Amazon is now a quiet competitor to UPS, and the company is attempting to deliver packages as part of its Prime Air service. Amazon hopes to deliver packages up to 5 pounds in under 30 minutes by drone. 

Although Amazon hopes drone delivery will happen this year, the company has only received regulatory permission for test trials of its drone service. 

Google parent company Alphabet Inc. is also developing drones under its Wing initative, with the company receiving FAA approval earlier this year to operate a fleet of commercial drones in a rural area around Blackburg, Virginia. 

Ridesharing company Uber has been testing a drone food delivery service but is still struggling to get regulatory approval to launch in San Diego. 

The FAA said in May that the commercial drone market could triple in size by 2023, with an estimated 823,000 drones flying by that year.