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This question already has an answer here:

Given the fact that Helium is now readily available (as compared to times when Zeppelins were around), why isn't Lighter Than Air Aviation used for cheap travel?

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marked as duplicate by Peter Kämpf, Simon, vasin1987, kevin, Federico Jun 15 '15 at 17:26

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    $\begingroup$ I'd suggest a read of aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/9860/… - I like the idea myself too, but modern airships are rare, expensive, and slow, which means they're probably the opposite of cheap (at the moment). $\endgroup$ – Andy Jun 15 '15 at 15:38
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    $\begingroup$ You think helium is readily available??? The world is rapidly running out of Helium! $\endgroup$ – abelenky Jun 15 '15 at 16:12
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There are many factors that have kept Lighter Than Air Aviation out of the mainstay,

Speed: Airships are not exactly the most efficient means of moving through the air. As such their speed is far more limited than their heaver than air counterparts. For what its worth the main advantage of air travel in the modern world is speed. Its better to fly to Europe in 8 hours from New York than take a 3 week boat trip.

Size: Rigid or even Semi Rigid airships are not small vehicles. They require very large hangars to keep them protected from the elements considering they are fabric covered.

Capacity: The largest airship ever made was the Hindenburg class of airships. Coming in twice as tall and 3 times longer than a modern 747 and in its biggest configuration only able to cary 73 passengers compared to 550 for the largest configuration of the smallest 747 built. Granted the Hindenburg was not laid out like a modern airliner (it was more like a cruise ship) considering the slow speeds it would need to be that way even today.

Even with Helium being easier to come buy, its just not efficient to fly such a large craft for so few people.

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  • $\begingroup$ And, as everyone knows, the Hindenburg used hydrogen, not helium. Helium is four times denser than hydrogen, so a helium-filled airship would need to be much larger for the same passenger and cargo capacity. $\endgroup$ – Dan Hulme Jun 15 '15 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ @DanHulme: helium is twice as dense as hydrogen, not four times, because hydrogen gas is diatomic. Nevertheless, both are much lighter than air; helium is about 92% as buoyant as hydrogen. $\endgroup$ – David Jun 15 '15 at 21:55