CargoLifter, the German airship developer, was struggling to avoid insolvency late last week after German federal authorities refused to keep it afloat.

A recent bond issue attracted minimal interest from the company's shareholders, forcing CargoLifter to open the issue to the public. It has now postponed the development of its CL160 heavylift airship - a 1:8 scale prototype of which has been produced - to concentrate on the CL75 lifting balloon. It needs €70 million ($64 million) to continue development to the end of the next financial year (August 2003), according to chief financial officer Karl Bangert.

Bangert says €10-20 million is needed in the short term. Boeing, which has a partnership with the German company, declines to invest.

Late last week CargoLifter was still negotiating with the Brandenburg state authorities and other unnamed investors for support, and expected to restart negotiations with the economics ministry "soon". CargoLifter's 500-strong workforce has agreed to a one-month delay in salaries.


Source: Flight International