Anchorage company brings helium-filled airship to Alaska

Published: Aug. 30, 2016 at 5:31 PM AKDT
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An Anchorage-based logistics company says it will soon have a new tool for delivering people and equipment to remote sections of Alaska.

PRL Logistics and its partner Straightline Aviation are bringing a helium-filled Airship to Alaska.

The $40-million Airship is being built by Lockheed Martin. PRL Logistics Vice President Kathleen O'Connell says the first off the assembly line will come to Alaska sometime in 2018.

O'Connell says the aircraft can carry 18 passengers and up to 44,000 pounds of equipment. She says that's more weight than a C-130 airplane can hold.

O'Connell says the Airship, "can do a vertical ascent and decent. What that means is you no longer have to invest the millions of dollars or billions in an air strip and so that will make the transportation costs a lot cheaper.

The aircraft can travel up to 60 miles an hour. According to the Lockheed Martin website, "it's more like a fast ship than a slow airplane."

PRL Logistics says the Airship will be based at its Kenai operations and serve the peninsula and Cook Inlet.

O'Connell says Straightline Aviation will actually own the aircraft while PRL will provide the logistical planning for its customers.