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Discovery Air signs on to buy airship

Thandie Vela
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 29, 2011

Discovery Air Inc. has signed an agreement to be the first customer of UK-based Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) Ltd.'s commercial heavy lift program.

Discovery Air subsidiary Discovery Air Innovations was announced as the launch customer of the aircraft design and manufacturing company's development of a heavy lift and cargo airship with the ability to deliver supplies on land, water, ice and snow, with no need for a runway.

"HAV's heavy lift and cargo market will be a tremendous addition to our range of aviation services," Discovery Air Innovations president Paul Bouchard said in an Aug. 12 news release.

"With a cargo capacity of 50 tonnes at speeds up to 100 knots (185 km/h), we believe this capability will enable economic development of remote, stranded resources with a low environmental impact. The ability to deliver cargo point-to-point without the need for a runway, will mean the infrastructure costs of our clients are reduced substantially."

Discovery Air spokesperson Sheila Venman said the program is still very much in the developmental phase right now and how many of the vehicles the company plans to secure has not yet been determined.

"As the ideas and opportunities get flushed out, more will be known about how the actual operation is going to work," Venman said.

Construction on the vehicles is targeted to begin in 2012, with the first vehicle scheduled to enter commercial service in 2014.

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