ABOUT AVIATION INNOVATIONS

When the first Airships to the Arctic conference was held in 2002, the skepticism of man-made climate change was only exceeded by the skepticism about the feasibility of cargo airships. Much as changed in the past 17 years. The problems that airships can address have become more acute and public interest in airship technology has increased significantly. Like the application of 21st century technology to wind turbines and Tesla cars, modern airships offer efficient, safe and environmentally sustainable transport that is within our reach. Beyond that, innovations in transportation technology have the power to transform the economies of previously remote areas. The Arctic has been waiting a long time for a better transportation system. The impetus to embrace cargo airship transportation is increasing as the need for a low carbon future becomes more obvious. The effects of climate change are being felt with greater temperature and weather extremes around the world. Nowhere is the impact of a warming climate greater than in the polar regions. The melting ice cover on the Arctic Ocean is opening these waters to longer navigation seasons. Arctic nations are confronted with the greater need for surveillance, search and rescue capabilities. Low-cost, long-endurance airships are ideal for coastal missions. On land, the ice roads have already lost half their seasons because of warmer winters, and are fast becoming too unreliable to be economic. Virtually all food is flown into the 294 remote communities of Canada, aboard “Cessna Caravan” class airplanes. Typical air cargo freight rates in the North are about $2 per kilogram. Cargo airships can cut this cost in half and carry low density, bulky freight that exceeds the capacity of available airplanes. As technology advances and airships become larger, freight rates will fall further. The mining industry is aware of this opportunity. As reserves run down, mining companies must either go deeper or develop new mines in remote areas. Rich mineral deposits have been verified throughout the Canadian Shield and Arctic that remain untouched because the cost of building road access is prohibitive. Any mine more than 200 kilometers from an all-weather road is a candidate for cargo airship service. New transportation innovations can have transformational impacts of the economy. The railways turned the grassy plains into wheat fields and prosperous farms. Jet airplanes created vacation spots around the world. Container ships turned backwater fishing ports into giant logistics gateways. Cargo airships will transform the remote reaches of the Arctic, the Amazon and Africa into prosperous centres of economic growth. The purpose of the 8th Airships to the Arctic conference is to reconvene the potential users of airships and representatives of the airship developers from around the world to take stock of where we stand in 2019. The first day of the conference will feature the demand side of the market. Presentations will be made by representatives of the mining, energy and distribution industries. The second day will feature the latest in what is happening with airship technology. The conference brings together business leaders, innovators, start up companies, manufacturers, training service providers, aeronautical products providers and variety of people involved in aviation and aerospace industries. Discussions will include forecasts, advances and gaps in the development of a new cargo airship transportation system.