Cargolifter boss starts new airship company

9th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 September 2005, BERLIN - The men whose failed attempt in Germany to build a huge cargo-carrying airship wiped out hundreds of millions of euros three years ago have returned to the fray, saying they are testing the market again for the Cargolifter.

9 September 2005

BERLIN - The men whose failed attempt in Germany to build a huge cargo-carrying airship wiped out hundreds of millions of euros three years ago have returned to the fray, saying they are testing the market again for the Cargolifter.

Carl von Gablenz, the former chief executive, and associates said in Berlin late Thursday they had formed a new company named CL Cargolifter to promote the idea and were raising 250,000 euros in equity.

"The Cargolifter idea has survived the economic crash," said Gablenz. The June 2002 bankruptcy of the original dirigible venture left 74,000 stockholders nothing from the 320 million euros they had invested and state authorities lost their 41-million-euro subsidy.

Since the crashes 70 years ago of several airships including the Hindenburg in 1937 destroyed confidence in dirigibles, visionaries have dreamed of reviving airships as a cheaper alternative to heavier-than-air aircraft.

But independent engineers said that delivering 160-ton loads by airship would not work, because costly mooring facilities were needed at all the destinations to move ballast onto the Cargolifter.

Another German airship maker, Zeppelin, has built three passenger airships. Two are for providing joyrides and one went into use this month in South Africa doing geological surveys. Elsewhere, blimps are in use as advertising platforms.

A hangar that was put up at Brand near Berlin as a factory for the Cargolifter has been converted into a vacation result named Tropical Islands, but visitor numbers for the project have disappointed.

The dissolution of the original Cargolifter company is still being held up by legal disputes.

DPA

Subject: German news

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