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The construction industry could be a major market for these 'skyhooks' and the helium filled crane-transporters could have helped owner Cargolifter build the giant $72M steel frame hangar at Brand, 60km south of Berlin needed to construct the 260m long airships which will be able to lift and transport loads of up to 160t. The consortium building the hangar includes Hochtief and US fabric structures specialist Birdair. Work began in 1998 and is due to finish at the end of this year.

Entrepreneur, lawyer and logistics professor Dr Carl von Gablenz hopes to turn out four airships a year to create a 50-strong fleet. On-board crane mechanisms will be able to winch loads from the point of production and deliver to the point of use without complex interchanges at airports and harbours.

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