Quebec premier says returns will fly high with $30 million airship investment

Quebec premier says returns will fly high with $30 million airship investment

By Giuseppe Valiante ~ The Canadian Press

Montreal, QC — Quebec Premier Francois Legault is dismissing naysayers who are accusing his government of wasting $30 million on a company that wants to build giant airships to transport heavy cargo around the province’s far north.

The Journal de Montreal reported Tuesday that the previous Liberal government had rejected the project as too risky. That led the opposition to suggest someone at the province’s investment arm must have been sniffing helium when they accepted the pitch from the French company, called Flying Whales.

But not only is the science behind the idea of cargo airships sound, the technology has been around for nearly 100 years, said professor Barry Prentice at University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business.

“There is no question the technology works,” Prentice said in an interview Wednesday. Prentice, a transportation and supply chain management expert, also runs a research institute studying airship technology.

Airships disappeared from the skies in the 20th century for the same reason electric cars and windmills never took off during the same time period: fossil fuels. Jets took over the passenger airships, gas-powered vehicles dominated the roads, and coal-fired plants sprung up around the world, Prentice said.

But now electric cars and wind turbines are back, said Prentice. “The airships are just the next technology to follow the same pattern. But we aren’t looking to transport passengers. Now we’re talking about cargo.”

Read original full article by Giuseppe Valiante ~ The Canadian Press here:

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