EUROPE/CIS: Helium cargo airship could soon take flight

A helium-filled hybrid airship, which can carry a maximum payload of 200 tonnes – about 80 per cent more than a B747 freighter – could soon take flight. UK Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) technology company Hybrid Air Vehicles says its prototype will be flying this summer. The 15 metre long vessel has attracted interest from the US […]


A helium-filled hybrid airship, which can carry a maximum payload of 200 tonnes – about 80 per cent more than a B747 freighter – could soon take flight. UK Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) technology company Hybrid Air Vehicles says its prototype will be flying this summer. The 15 metre long vessel has attracted interest from the US military, which has committed £300 million (US$465.7 million) to the venture, as well as mining and petroleum firms, all of which see value in an air cargo alternative which does not need an airport. The company is launching a family of hybrid air vehicles, known as SkyCat, with payloads spanning 20 to 1,000 tonnes, operating at heights up to 3,000 metres at speeds between 90 and 120 knots, with endurance up to five days.