Straightline Aviation to buy cargo-carrying airships

Cargo carrying airships will return to the UK’s skies with Straightline Aviation (SLA) signing a Letter of Intent to purchase 12 cargo carrying hybrid airships from US specialist aviation manufacturer Lockheed Martin for around USD $480 million. SLA is working with Lockheed Marin’s reseller Hybrid Enterprises to finalise the deal.

The new aircraft will have a tri-lobe shape and an air cushion landing system, and will be able to transport passengers and cargo to remote locations with none of the issues faced by fixed wing aircraft such as the need for a long, hard runway. They should be able to reach locations almost anywhere in the world including land and sea.

Airships burn less fuel compared to conventional aircraft as well, making them an environmentally friendly and cost effective solution for remote cargo delivery.

SLA co-founder and CEO Mike Kendrick said: “We are delighted to be first in line with this magnificent aircraft that is going to dramatically change the way cargo is moved around the world.

“The clear-cut economic and environmental advantages of these Hybrids are attracting vast amounts of attention from a wide-range of potential end users.”

Hybrid Enterprises CEO Rob Binns said: “Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Airship represents a revolution in remote cargo delivery.”

Hybrid Enterprises is specifically focused on sales and marketing of Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Airships.

The idea of heavy life air cargo airships has been around for some considerable time, yet few such ventures seem to have got off the ground. Using inert helium instead of hydrogen that famously contributed to the Hindenburg’s demise, they are safe and can remain in the air for weeks at a time while burning far less fuel per mile as the fuel is solely concerned with driving the vehicle and not achieving lift.