Airship floating in the arctic.


The 2023 Airships to the Arctic webinar series presented speakers—leading airship developers and input suppliers—who elaborated on the demand for cargo airships in the North.

Residents of remote communities in northern Canada often face monopoly services and high freight rates, which directly impacts the price and quality of everything from food to housing. Existing technology cannot alter the pattern of economic disparity between southern Canada and the sparsely populated, “thin” markets of the north.

A transformative change in the transportation service industry is required and low-cost cargo airship services are a conceivable solution. With widespread applications across national defense and industrial mining, a cargo airships market would lower expenses for all stakeholders, especially remote communities. Airship corridors begin where the existing transportation infrastructure ends.


Tuesday, May 30 – The Demand for Cargo Airships in the North

9:00 a.m. Airship Corridors and Gateways

Cargo Airship Strategy For Northern Canada
Barry Prentice, Canadian Arctic Innovation Association

9:30 a.m. Northern Demands for Airships

Critical Minerals – Development Opportunities
Andrew Ghattas, Critical Minerals Centre of Excellence

Housing Demand
Ross Prentice, BASI

Airships for Northern Transport in Canada
Gage Van Alstyne, Gillam Aviation Fuel

10:30 a.m. Green Energy Systems

Solar Power Systems
Christoph  Pflaum, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Kimberley L. Leach, Ballard Power Systems

Megawatt Generators
Rolando Ayala and Cristian Anghel, Honeywell Aerospace

11:20 a.m. Closing Remarks

Wednesday, May 31 – The Supply of Cargo Airships in the World

9:00 a.m. Market Overview

The Big Picture
Eli Dourado, Utah State University

9:30 a.m. Airship Developments 

Airlander Hybrid Aircraft
Tom Grundy, Hybrid Air Vehicles

FLYING CARE mobile hospital
Armelle Tarrieu and Octave Jolimoy, FLYING WHALES

10:45 a.m. Hydrogen Technology

Hydrogen Applications and Future Uses
Matthew Klippenstein, Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association

Legal Status of Lifting Gases
Austin Brittenham, University of Mississippi

11:20 a.m. Closing Remarks

2023 Webinars

Speakers bios

Dr. Barry Prentice

Professor of Supply Chain Management, Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba
Director of the University of Manitoba Transport Institute (UMTI)

Dr. Barry Prentice is widely recognized as an expert in the field of transportation and logistics, and one of his areas of expertise is lighter-than-air (LTA) transport technologies, such as blimps and airships.

Dr. Prentice has been involved in several initiatives related to LTA transport technologies over the years. For example, he was a founding member of ISO Polar, a not-for-profit Manitoba airship Initiative, that was established in 2006 to promote the use of airships for transportation and other applications in Manitoba and across Canada.

Dr. Prentice has also conducted extensive research on the economic and environmental benefits of airships for transporting goods and people. He has argued that airships have several advantages over other forms of transport, including their ability to carry heavy loads over long distances with minimal environmental impact.

Andrew Ghattas

Director, Critical Minerals Centre of Excellence, Lands and Minerals Sector, Natural Resources Canada

Andrew has over 15 years policy experience with the Canadian Government in a variety of roles.

He joined Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) in 2020 as Director of the Critical Minerals Centre of Excellence, where his team is the Government Canada policy lead on critical minerals and Canada’s critical mineral strategy.

Prior to joining NRCan, Andrew was a Senior Policy Advisor at the Privy Council Office, where he led on a variety of economic portfolios including international trade, defence procurement and foreign direct investment.

Andrew got his start at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada where he worked on multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations, trade and market access policy, as well as program delivery.

Andrew has a Master Degree in Public Administration Management from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Development from the University of Guelph.

Ross Prentice

CEO, Buoyant Aircraft Systems International (BASI)

Ross has a strong background in transportation and is truly passionate about understanding how it shapes our world. In addition to a professional designation in logistics, he has worked for nearly 20 years in the intermodal transportation industry.

By the nature of his family relationship, Ross kept abreast of nearly all things related to cargo airships for his entire life. Over the years he has contributed multiple volunteer hours assisting with a variety of things including the assembly, testing and ground handling of a research airship.

Along with this practical experience, he has a strong desire to help less fortunate people. The cargo airship industry has a chance to improve the quality of life of people who are living in remote communities in Canada and around the world. 

Gage Van Alstyne

CEO, Gillam Aviation Fuel

Gage Van Alstyne has grown up in Northern Manitoba Canada, and is the owner of several businesses in the tourism and supply chain industry.

Gage values the northern residents and believes new technology can revolutionize the north.

Christoph Pflaum

Professor of Computational Engineering, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)

Christoph Pflaum's research topics are high performance computing and numerical simulation with respect to different engineering applications. In particular, he is interested in optical applications, simulation of solar cells, and simulation of airships.   

Having studied mathematics at Technical University Munich, he worked at Technical University Munich, University Würzburg, Germany, and at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA, before he obtained a professor position at University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.

Additionally, Pflaum is cofounder and CEO of the company ASLD GmbH.

Kimberley Leach

North American Market Development Manager, Ballard Power Systems and Owner of Wind Farm Pros 

She is owner of Wind Farm Pros, a Wind Farm Installation and Operation and Maintenance Company, and has provided oversight on some of the most remotely challenged and contentious projects in Canada. 

Over the last couple of years, Canada announced the commitment to address the reduction of green house gas emissions and with that the Hydrogen Framework for Canada. This led her to Ballard Power Systems. Ballard Power Systems is a Canadian Company and global leader in Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology. She assists the company as the North American Market Development Manager – East for Ballard. 

In the government sector Kim held key positions including Deputy CEO and Director of Economic Development and Planning. She continues to strengthen her engagement the agriculture, immigration, international investment and renewable energy sectors and is often called upon to provide strategic advice on specialized projects or provide referrals to support investment.

Eli Dourado

Senior Research Fellow, The Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University

Eli Dourado's work focuses on identifying and eliminating the barriers to the hard technology innovations needed to drive large increases in economic growth. He has worked on a wide range of issue areas, including geothermal energy, permitting, aviation, space, and cryptocurrency. His popular writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Foreign Policy, among other outlets.

Prior to joining the CGO, Eli was the first policy hire at a supersonic aviation startup. Before that, he was a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and director of its technology policy program. He received a PhD in economics from George Mason University and a BA in economics and political science from Furman University.

Tom Grundy

CEO, Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd (HAV) 

As CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd (HAV), the company behind Airlander, Tom and the team HAV are changing the way we fly, rethinking the skies to provide new capabilities and combat the impact of climate change.

Tom’s technical expertise, resolve and understanding means he brings an engineering mindset to the net-zero challenge, and he is driven by a responsibility to drive change in the aviation industry.

He holds an MBA and Masters degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Advanced Systems Engineering. He is a chartered engineer and Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Armelle Tarrieu

Sales Director, FLYING WHALES

For the past 3 years, Armelle has been responsible for the Construction and Humanitarian Aid sectors worldwide, for business development in Europe and the European Outermost Regions, as well as OCTs for all verticals and supporting the development of the FLYING CARE mobile hospital solution, at FLYING WHALES. 

She brings to the company over 30 years of experience in aviation - fixed and rotary wing - in senior management positions, including 12 last years in offshore helicopter operations worldwide as Head of Ground and Flight Operations and then Commercial Director.

Octave Jolimoy

FLYING CARE Project Manager and Market Manager, FLYING WHALES 

Octave joined FLYING WHALES as Market Manager in 2020, working more specifically on Humanitarian, Wind Power and Japan markets. In 2022 he took over the management of FLYING CARE Project to deploy a mobile hospital solution transported by airship.

His previous work experience included a stint with PSA Group (now Stellantis) where he implemented a Proof of Concept of dynamic and interactive tests for automotive Human-Machine Interfaces using virtual reality. 

He is a graduate from the Arts et Métiers ParisTech - École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers and Tongji University with masters degrees in mechanical and industrial engineering and automotive engineering respectively. 

Gil Costin

Founder and CEO, Millennium Airship & SkyFreighter Corp

Gil, born and raised in Ottawa Ontario Canada, and is a US Navy veteran. He has been a commercial pilot for 30 years in both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters licensed in both Canada and the United States. His interest in advanced airship technology begin well before becoming a pilot. 

He also designed and patented the ITAMMS ThrustWing, (Integrated Thrust and Maneuvering Management System) technology for hybrid aircaft propulsion and control, plus the catamaran semi-ridged hybrid airship hull design. 

He attended Simon Fraser University where he studied economics while also working as an Advanced Life Support Paramedic for the Emergency Health Services Commission’s Air Ambulance Team of British Columbia Canada. 

Millennium Airship Inc./SkyFreighter Corp is a United States “C” corporation registered in the state of Washington and its wholly owned Canadian subsidiary, SkyFreighter Canada Ltd. 

Matthew Klippenstein

Executive Director, Hydrogen BC & Regional Director, Western Canada, Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association

Matthew Klippenstein is a fluently-bilingual chemical engineer who has worked in British Columbia’s clean energy economy for the past 20 years. In addition to his extensive hydrogen and fuel cell sector experience, he worked as a consultant in Wood’s renewable energy group performing energy yield assessments for wind and solar projects. 

As Executive Director of Hydrogen BC and regional director for western Canada, Mr. Klippenstein oversees advocacy, marketing, communications, and government relations for the sector in British Columbia and western Canada.

Austin Brittenham

J.D. candidate, University of Mississippi

Austin is a J.D. candidate at the University of Mississippi where he will receive a concentration from their Center for Air and Space Law.

His legal research covers issues in domestic and international air and space law related to emergent technology, business, civil rights, and legal theory. Prior to law school, he worked for a multinational technology company, in technology entrepreneurship, and higher education.

Currently, outside of the classroom, he helps small nonprofits through board and advisory roles.

About the organizer

University of Manitoba Transport Institute

  • Located at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba, the Transport Institute (TI) is a world-renowned research institute in transportation and logistics.

    With a rich history of more than 30 years, TI researchers actively undertake outstanding collaborative scholarly research and publications, facilitate the transfer of knowledge to professional communities, and train graduate students to become competent scholars in transportation and logistics. TI plays a highly important role in defining Canada and the world’s future scholarly research direction of transportation and logistics.

  • Picture of Professor Barry Prentice wearing a grey suit with yellow tie. He looks dapper and happy as always

    Barry Prentice

    Professor and Director of the University of Manitoba Transport Institute (UMTI)

Past Webinars

Contact us

University of Manitoba Transport Institute
Room 631 Drake Centre
181 Freedman Cres.
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry Campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 5V4