A British-based company – Hybrid Air Vehicles – is planning to launch 100-passenger airships by 2025 for intercity and short international flights. With all the major aircraft manufacturers announcing plans to produce new greener models, HAV is hoping to trump their efforts with its Airlander range of airships. The company say that the carbon dioxide - CO2 - footprint per passenger would be 4.5 kilograms as opposed to 53 kilograms from the average jet aircraft flight.
The Airlander 10 is a versatile craft and can fly up to 7500 nautical kilometres, at heights up to 6,000 metres and speeds of 90 kilometres per hour. The airship can land and take-off from any flat surface.
The rationale behind the use of airships is simple. Jet aircraft are used for short journeys – say from Liverpool to Belfast or Oslo to Stockholm – and produce harmful CO2 gas. For these trips, an airship would use so much less fuel and therefore expel less CO2 and would achieve a smaller carbon footprint.
HAV hopes to be producing 25 aircraft by 2025. Tests flights of the aircraft have been less than successful, with one prototype crashing in 2016, albeit with no casualties. HAV has signed one deal to deliver an Airlander 10 to OceanSky Cruises – which is based in Sweden. It hopes to take passengers on trips over the North Pole.