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MAAT - Multibody Advanced Airship for Transport

Find out about a fascinating project


The MAAT project overcomes structural and physical limits of airplanes in cruiser/feeder operation. It aims to investigate an airship cruiser-feeder global transport system for medium and long range transport.


12 partners from the fields of aeronautic research and logistics participate in the project which is termed for three years and is funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the EU. The project started 1st September 2011 was accomplished in February 2015.

The MAAT Project aims to study the system and its components in a full structured systemic approach and to define:

  • the general design of cruiser and feeder, to optimize aerodynamics and photovoltaic energy;
  • the preliminary structural draft of cruiser, feeder and hub;
  • control systems, procedures and codes for stability and flying attitude control;
  • electrical propulsion systems able to overcome the problems related to the low air density;
  • operative procedures for rendezvous and joining operations;
  • internal design of cabins and cargo;
  • study and design of cruiser/feeder connections;
  • passive and active safety systems.


The MAAT system is composed by three modules.

  • PTAH (Photovoltaic Transport Airship for High-altitudes) is a heavy payload and high quote cruiser which remains airborne on stable routes;
  • ATEN (Air Transport Efficient Network feeder) is a VTOL feeder airship by gas buoyancy linking the cruiser to the ground;
  • AHA (Airship Hub Airport) is a new concept of low cost vertical airport hub joinable by ATEN, easy to build both in towns and in logistic centres.

The strengths of the MAAT concept are:

  • standardized and modular global air transport system;
  • operative altitudes higher than traditional civil routes;
  • heavy payload, low cost of transportation and non-stop flight;
  • possibility to act as a flying integrated logistics centre;
  • self sufficient by photovoltaic propelling system;
  • increased safety to prevent crashes and long evacuation times;
  • hovering ability to simplify cruiser/feeder engagement;
  • cruiser/feeder transfers in motion;
  • VTOL ground operations;
  • silent landing and take-off operations;
  • cost effective, light and easy to deploy structures on the ground;
  • reduced consumption of soil.