The airship, named LCA60T, will be operated by Flying Whales Services. Photo: Exterior
Flying Whales, a French company specializing in rigid airship technology for transporting heavy loads, plans to establish a manufacturing plant in the United Arab Emirates. This measure will generate approximately 1,000 employment opportunities in collaboration with its partners.
With zero emissions since it is completely electric, the Whales will be certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). It works like a helicopter and can transport heavy loads, such as mobile hospitals, to remote locations.
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“We would like to have a final assembly line in Abu Dhabi to produce airships for all regions, from East Africa to the Middle East and India. We have started talks and if we set up a facility here, production will begin in 2027, creating 300 direct jobs. Since other companies in the consortium will also come to the UAE to produce parts, in total we will create around 1,000 jobs,” said Sébastien Bougon, President and CEO of Flying Whales.
Since the airship was designed like a whale, it is named after the marine mammal and is capable of transporting wind blades, pylons, industrial parts, hospitals, etc. Scroll down to watch the video.
The airship, which can fly between a few hundred and thousands of kilometers, is not for sale and will be operated by Flying Whales Services. Named LCA60T, 200 meters long, 50 meters in diameter and a 96-meter-long cargo compartment, it will be able, for the first time in history, to load and unload up to 60 tons of heavy or bulky cargo in hover.
There will be no footprint on the ground because we do not need to land to load and unload.
The company aims to have four final assembly lines around the world: Quebec (Canada), Nouvelle Aquitaine (France), Abu Dhabi (UAE) and the State of Victoria (Australia). Each facility will serve the entire region. Supported by a consortium of 50 leading aeronautical partners, including Honeywell, Thales, Safran, AWS and others, the company will have a Flying Whales Industry and Flying Whales Services unit at each of the four locations.
In terms of costs, Bougon revealed that this new transport model is 20 times less expensive than helicopters and airplanes and a little more than trucks. “We don’t have any impact on the ground when we load and unload.”
The company is currently participating in COP28 at Expo City Dubai, representing French innovation in the field of transport decarbonization.
Serving 30 markets from the UAE
Bougon said they are working hand in hand with these regulatory authorities in the US and Europe, therefore the airship will be as safe as any aircraft that is operational globally.
Flying Whales will serve 30 bases in the United Arab Emirates and will deploy aircraft to all of these destinations. Globally, it will have 160 air bases and will create an airship for each air base.
“Emirates is a strong partner of France and is in the middle. We need to go to India and there are many opportunities in East Africa. So we will produce the airship for this region in Emirates and we will deploy it throughout the region, increasing the influence of the Emirates in this entire region because the Emirates will manage all these means of transport in India, Africa and Turkey,” Bougon told Khaleej Times during COP28.
“If we establish a facility here in the Emirates, it means that there will be an agreement between the Emirates, France, Canada and Australia and we will never have another factory in any other neighboring Gulf country or in India. Production and operations come exclusively from the Emirates. Emirates.
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