Airbus Startup Soars through Initial SeaWing Trials
Airbus Technology

Airbus Startup Soars through Initial SeaWing Trials

DALLAS — Making a play in reducing CO2 emissions in its own operations, Airbus, in cooperation with AirSeas, an Airbus startup, has begun testing its SeaWing technology.

The SeaWing is an automated kite that employs parafoil technology. Intended to tow large ships, the manufacturer has tested the system on its own “roll on/roll off” ships that transport large aircraft parts between its production sites in Europe and the U.S.

The SeaWing is launched by simply activating a switch. The kite then deploys, unfurls, and operates autonomously as its systems collect and analyze meteorological and oceanic data to optimize performance. When the kite is no longer needed, the SeaWing automatically refolds and is recovered on the ship, ready for its next deployment.

The system was developed by AirSeas, a small Airbus startup that combined its own maritime expertise with Airbus’ knowledge of aerodynamics, flight controls, systems, and materials.

Using the system, the company expects to lower shipping costs by around 20% while reducing Airbus’ overall industrial environmental footprint by 8,000 tons of CO2 per year.

The trial took place on board the Ville de Bordeaux, which is chartered by Airbus, during a transatlantic voyage. The SeaWing flies at an altitude of about 200 meters and comes in both 250 sq meter and 500 sq meter versions.

Photo by AirSeas

Airbus, AirSeas


“We are very proud that Airbus has confirmed its confidence in the SeaWing system after seeing our test results first-hand on their own ship,” explained AirSeas CEO and founder Vincent Bernatets, who previously worked at Airbus in managerial, marketing, after-sales, and business development positions. “This first ro-ro vessel installation opens the way for further pioneering deals on container ships, bulk freighters, and ferries.”

According to an Airbus press release, the SeaWing is designed for rapid integration on almost all commercial ships in operation today. Its design enables installation and maintenance during regular stopovers at ports of call.

According to GCaptain.com, AirSeas has received five firm orders and 51 options for SeaWing systems from Japanese shipowner K-Line which owns the fifth largest fleet worldwide.


Featured image: Airbus

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John Huston is a marketer, writer, and videographer who's always loved planes, clocked 10 whole hours in a Cessna and can spend hours wandering around ATL. Based in Atlanta, GA, United States.

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