Palmdale, California – Straightline Aviation (SLA) officials have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase up to 12 Lockheed Martin hybrid airships with a potential value of approximately $480 million. SLA is working with Hybrid Enterprises, Lockheed Martin’s hybrid airship reseller, to finalize the purchase agreement.
“We are delighted to be first in line with this magnificent aircraft that is going to dramatically change the way cargo is moved around the world,” said Mike Kendrick, SLA co-founder and chief executive officer. “The clear-cut economic and environmental advantages of these hybrids are attracting vast amounts of attention from a wide-range of potential end users.”
Based in the U.K., the leadership team of SLA has deep-rooted experience in airship operations and established the company specifically to act as an owner-operator of Lockheed Martin hybrid airships. Kendrick previously founded and ran the Virgin Group’s airship interests, including the Virgin Airship and Balloon Co. (VABC). Mark Dory, VABC’s COO, is now SLA’s COO. David Tait OBE, president of SLA’s U.S. operations, was a founding member of the team that created Virgin Atlantic Airways and was executive vice president of Virgin Atlantic Airways’ U.S. operation for 18 years.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Hybrid Enterprises is the exclusive reseller of Lockheed Martin’s hybrid airships. Hybrid Enterprises is comprised of industry professionals who have sold, leased and operated cargo aircraft in more than 120 countries.
“Lockheed Martin’s hybrid airship represents a revolution in remote cargo delivery,” said Rob Binns, Hybrid Enterprises’ CEO. “Having an experienced team such as SLA recognize the hybrid airship’s potential by signing the LOI solidifies the demand for this new mode of transportation. We are honored and excited to share this milestone with them.”
With its tri-lobe shape and air cushion landing system, Lockheed Martin’s hybrid airship is designed to transport cargo and passengers to and from remote locations using little or no fixed ground infrastructure. Fuel burn is expected to be significantly less compared to conventional aircraft, making the airships an environmentally friendly solution to remote cargo delivery.
Source: Lockheed Martin