Gallery: High-Flying Airships Show Promise as the Future of Air Freight


When it comes to the products we use every day — from food, to clothing, to household items — the fact that they are often shipped from all corners of the Earth means that they generally have a shockingly high carbon footprint. However former UK government chief scientific adviser Professor Sir David King believes that we can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of freight by re-employing a form of transport from the past – the airship.

Unsurprisingly, the airship fell out of favor as a form of personal travel after the Hindenburg disaster, but in recent years the likes of Boeing and Lockheed Martin have been redeveloping the technology. The military in particular has pursued airships being as long-range recon units.

However King believes that instead of finding terrorists, airships could be better used to transport our freight at a much smaller environmental cost. Speaking at the World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment in Oxford, Sir King said to UK newspaper The Guardian that, “there are an awful lot of people we talk to who say this is going to happen. This is something I believe is going to happen.

It would be unwise to bet against him. With the likes of high-speed rail proving a rapid, more environmentally-friendly alternative to air travel, greener forms of transport are becoming more and more ‘vogue’. It is not surprising, as the transport industry currently represents 22% of greenhouse gases in Europe. In the States, it is even more.

As such, blimps could soon be given more useful tasks than simply advertising firms above football games. Of course, they wouldn’t be used for jobs that needed a more rapid delivery – such as priority mail and perishable food stuffs, but for not-so urgent items they can provide a lower-cost and greener alternative.

Here’s hoping the idea takes off (pun intended).

Via The Guardian UK


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  1. Navy Deploys MZ-3A Airs... July 7, 2010 at 10:16 am

    […] been hearing more and more about airships being a greener transportation alternative to regular planes, and now we have a chance to see one […]

  2. gasblimper July 2, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Hi folks,
    The 517 million dollar LEMV contract for Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV)and Northrop Grumman is a very different proposition from the dreaded German Cargolifter. HAV are a real airship company with a great product in the HAV 304 / Skycat. Cargolifter was an LTA industry joke, it was designed to take money from both ignorant investors and the EU, spend a lot of it on themselves and then throw the rest away on crazy sub contracts. The never even finished the drawings yet alone built a sensible blimp. Their only legacy was a giant hangar near Berlin that is now a greenhouse.
    They did nothing, but HAV a real airship company will change aviation history with their hybrid airship.
    RRegards JB (LTA comedy site )

  3. AdamG. July 2, 2010 at 12:07 am

    This was already attempted once, and the private company failed miserably.

  4. michaeljanzen July 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Love the innovation and idea of traveling by airship. The idea that these would be cargo carriers bothers me a bit because it seems smarter to buy local.

    I’m thinking this smells like an attempt to design a way around the reality that the global economy is likely to collapse once fossil fuel energy costs get too high. Might be more effective to design for supporting local community development.

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