ABU DHABI (Agencies): French startup Flying Whales has unveiled plans to construct an airship factory in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with a potential completion date as early as 2027. The facility, set to be based in Abu Dhabi, aims to serve the Middle East, India, and Africa, generating 300 direct jobs and an additional 1,000 indirect positions.

Flying Whales has been dedicated to developing the LCA60T, a next-generation airship designed for crewless air cargo services in regions with limited ground infrastructure and a low carbon footprint. The LCA60T, measuring 200 meters in length with a 60-ton payload capacity, utilizes helium as a lifting gas and possesses the unique ability to hover over specific locations, eliminating the need for purpose-built loading and unloading facilities. Notably, it operates without an onboard crew.

The startup is exploring various freight sector applications for the airship. In 2023, Flying Whales secured agreements with Arianespace, a European space company, for the transportation of rocket components, and with Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, a French shipping company integral to Airbus’ supply chain, to explore low-carbon methods of long-distance cargo transport.

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