French airship for cargo market

Flying Whales a French startup has raised $124 Million in a third round of funding. With this, they will continue to develop an airship for the air cargo market that can be used for offshore industry cargo of up to 60 tons, among other things. The expected first flight will take place in 2024.

Flying Whales has now raised a total of 160 million dollars, with investments made by the French government, the City of Monaco, the ADP Airport Group, Air Liquide and the Canadian province of Quebec. With this they hope to produce the first airship with zero emissions.

Prototypes of air zeppelin already exist from British Airlander and Lockheed LMH-1. These companies have been making test flights for several years, but there has not yet been a commercial breakthrough.

Flying Whales’ airship will be slightly smaller than the existing prototypes, and the first customer to use it is oil company Total. Production will take place in China, Montreal and France, and Flying Whales hopes to put the first ship into service in Bordeaux, France, in 2024.

Due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, existing heavy cargo aircraft (Volga Dnepr and the Antonov Airlines) from Russia are out of the market due to the boycott of Russian airlines. As a result, more than half of the heavy cargo planes are gone and Flying Whales sees an opening for at least 50 air freighters.