A British company has signed a contract to supply a Spanish airline with helium-powered airships. In the future, these airships will carry tourists to resorts in Spain instead of planes, although the ship was originally intended to monitor intelligence gathering in Afghanistan, Hybrid Air Vehicles said.
A small company based in Bedford, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), announced that it has closed a deal to provide ten of its unique helium airships to the Spanish airline. It was clarified that each aircraft can carry 100 passengers. A new ‘green’ manufacturing aerospace facility is expected to be built in South Yorkshire, which could provide an incentive for green aviation.
“Hybrid aircraft can play an important role as we move towards cleaner forms of aviation and it’s great to see the UK at the forefront of technology development. This agreement enhances the flight capabilities of the revolutionary British-made and designed Airlander 10 aircraft in the skies of Spain,” said Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
A company spokesman noted that the airship would have a carbon footprint of about 4.5 kg per tourist compared to a jet aircraft’s 53 kg per passenger.
Spanish carrier Air Nostrum hopes to have airships in the air by 2026. This could be an exciting innovation for air travel. The head of the carrier, Carlos Bertomeu, said in this regard: “Airlander 10 will significantly reduce emissions, and for this reason we have entered into an agreement with HAV. Sustainability, which is good news for everyone, is already an indisputable fact in the daily operations of commercial aviation.”
The airline has not specified which routes it will use the airships on, but they could be used on domestic Spanish routes as well. For example, trips from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca, which HAV says will take about four and a half hours. However, HAV said that its model is suitable for intercity travel and can be used for travel between Belfast and Liverpool or intercity routes in the US.
“Airlander is designed to provide a better future for sustainable aviation services, create new transportation networks and enable rapid growth opportunities for our customers. Our partnership with Air Nostrum Group as the airline launching the Airlander 10 paves the way for this future,” CEO Tom Grundy said hopefully.
The company hopes to sell 265 Airlanders over the next 20 years. The calculation is simple: the world is fighting climate change, many airlines are looking for greener options.
Air travel is one of the world’s major sources of pollution and accounts for about 2% of all carbon dioxide emissions. Many airlines have made commitments to cut their carbon emissions over the next decade, but progress has been extremely slow. Moreover, tourists in first-class seats emit an average of four times more emissions than an economy seat on the same plane.