Quebec is investing $55 million in a bold heavy equipment transportation project in far north Quebec.
Posted at 8:00 am
Through Investissement Québec (IQ), the province is contributing EUR 25 million in the share capital of Flying Whales and EUR 15 million in that of its subsidiary Les Dirigibles Flying Whales Québec. The government investment is estimated at 55 million Canadian dollars.
“These contributions are aimed at the development and certification of dirigible balloons intended for the transport of heavy and oversized loads in areas that are difficult to access by land,” we explain in the press release published by Quebec on Thursday.
The Flying Whales Group has just closed a third round of financing worth 122 million euros. Alongside Quebec, the French state is participating in the trip via the aptly named French Tech Souveraineté and the Principality of Monaco. Two current shareholders are investing money in the adventure, ALIAD (Air Liquide-Fonds) and Groupe ADP.
“Flying Whales is taking another step in its growth where Quebec’s expertise will enable the development of a new generation of aircraft,” Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said in a statement.
“Principal Components” in Quebec
Quebec wants Flying Whales to conduct a research and development component this year. Eventually, an aircraft manufacturing facility would follow. The first certification and commercial flights are planned for 2025-2026. “Large components will be developed in Quebec, such as the hybrid electric propulsion system, the avionics and the crew cabin,” the government publicly hopes.
100 jobs would be created within three years.
It is here [au Québec] that we will produce and operate the LCA60T solution for the American continents.
Sebastien Bougon, Founder and CEO of Flying Whales
Founded in 2012, Flying Whales aims to build cargo airships (LCA60T) for transporting oversized loads up to 60 tons.
The aircraft to be invented will first be equipped with a hybrid drive, then fully electric. It is said that the buoyancy is generated by helium. The partners are happy in advance about the small ecological footprint.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of the Flying Whales airships. The government of Quebec approved Investissement Quebec’s €30 million grant for the project in 2019. Those sums have been disbursed, IQ confirmed in July 2020. The presence of Chinese in the capital stock has meant that the project to establish this subsidiary in the country has been delayed following an Investment Canada decision.
Flying Whales has been able to conduct commercial activities in Canada since January 2022, Quebec assures today.