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Goodyear announces Zeppelin reunion

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Goodyear announces Zeppelin reunion

A new agreement with German zeppelin manufacturer ZLT Zeppelin LuftschifftechnikGmbH & Co KG will keep the Goodyear blimps flying well into the next decade.

"The Goodyear blimp is one of the most recognizable brand icons in the world," say Richard Kramer, chairman, CEO and president of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

"An event isn't considered truly special unless the Goodyear blimp is there to provide aerial coverage. I am pleased this investment will ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to experience the joy of seeing the Goodyear blimp grace the skies."

(Although the total investment wasn't released, ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik says the airships and technical support cost about $21 million each.)

Goodyear operates three airships in North America -- the Spirit of Goodyear in Akron, Ohio; the Spirit of Innovation in Pompano Beach, Fla.; and the Spirit of America in Carson, Calif. Goodyear also has leased blimp operations in Europe and China.

"Our current airships are approaching the end of their lifecycle, and we saw this as an opportunity to take the next evolutionary step in our airship program," says Nancy Jandrokovic, Goodyear’s director of Global Airship Operations.

Zeppelin LZ N07-101 model airships will be built with Zeppelin and Goodyear airship teams at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake Airship Hangar near Akron. Construction on the first airship is scheduled to start in 2013 and begin operating in 2014.

The new Goodyear-Zeppelin airships will be slightly larger than the airships in Goodyear’s current fleet. They also will fly faster, carry more passengers and include state-of-the art avionics and flight control systems.

During its long operational history, Goodyear has built and operated more than 300 airships -- including two large rigid airships, the U.S.S. Macon and U.S.S. Akron.

"Goodyear and Zeppelin worked together almost 90 years ago to bring rigid airship technology to America, and we’re thrilled to be working together again," says Thomas Brandt, CEO of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik.

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