Title: Market potential for transport airships in service to Hong Kong

Authors: Barry E. Prentice; Yui-yip Lau

Addresses: Department of Supply Chain Management, I.H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, Canada ' Hong Kong Community College, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 9 Hoi Ting Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong; Transport Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Abstract: Air transport has developed steadily over the past 70 years into a mature industry. It could now be subject to disruption because technological advances are leading to the development of transport airships. The emergence of transport airships has the potential to create a significant expansion of the trans-oceanic air freight markets, increase geographical coverage and alter world trade patterns. This paper explores the current state of the Hong Kong airfreight industry and examines how transport airships could influence the future of Hong Kong aviation services. A new conceptual model, the value-density cargo pyramid, is developed to conduct comparative analysis among dedicated cargo airplanes, sea-air logistics, sea containers and transport airships, notably in the busy trade corridors between Hong Kong and Europe, as well as, Hong Kong and North America. Based on reasonable assumptions, transport airships could capture up to a half of the existing 'dedicated cargo aircraft' capacity. The race is on to create this new transportation mode and first-movers will have an advantage. This paper provides valuable insights on an immense opportunity that awaits Asian shippers and could take Hong Kong and all of Asia to a new higher level of development and economic prosperity.

Keywords: air transport; transport airships; innovation; value-density cargo pyramid; Hong Kong; trans-oceanic air freight; air freight markets; aviation services; aviation management; conceptual models; cargo airplanes; sea-air logistics; sea containers; trade corridors.

DOI: 10.1504/IJAM.2016.078665

International Journal of Aviation Management, 2016 Vol.3 No.1, pp.68 - 83

Received: 11 Mar 2016
Accepted: 13 Jun 2016

Published online: 30 Aug 2016 *

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