Industry Issue Paper: The Rebirth of Airships

Until the outbreak of the Second World War, uncertainty existed whether airships and airplanes would dominate intercontinental passenger transportation. The massive investments in fi xed-wing aircraft during these hostilities made airplanes the decisive winner, and relegated airships to a negligible role in transportation. As the 21st Century progresses, airships are making a comeback fueled by the growing demand for air cargo, the unique environmental and operational characteristics of buoyant flight, and advances in engineering science and materials. This paper examines the market niche for airships that exists between air and marine transport and the inherent advantages and disadvantages of this mode of transportation. The economics of airships are considered in light of their past achievements and current designs. The paper concludes with the discussion of two potential applications. A long haul mission for airships between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland is considered for perishable freight, and a short haul mission for airships in northern Canada is considered for the transport of freight and passengers to remote communities.

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Journal Article
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Journal of the Transportation Research Forum, Volume 44, Number 1
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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