Dressed as a ticket inspector, he knocks out a pursuer. With a shrug of his shoulders he explains to the alarmed passengers: “No ticket.” In the modern era, whenever airships have been discussed and their applications evaluated, there has been no easy ticket to commercial viability. They have been seen as a romantic method of transport that the 21st Century has left far behind. Yet my decision this week to purchase a 12-strong fleet of new Hybrid Airships for $480 million from Lockheed Martin – the first deal of its kind in the world – flies in the face of this thinking. The unique agreement is one of the most exciting breakthroughs for airships since Jules Henri Giffard built the first powered lighter-than-air aircraft in 1852. A new era of air transportation is under way and it is led by a British company.