Have you ever thought how awesome it would be if we could just fly places on a cruise ship? Well, now it could be possible as soon as 2027, with the UK-based company Hybrid Air Vehicles and their newest aircraft, Airlander 10. Unlike the Scottish TV show ‘Outlander’ which travels back in time, Airlander 10 is taking us into the future of zero-carbon aviation.
Airlander 10 is the world’s biggest aircraft measuring over 91 meters in length (300 feet), and will soon enough be taking up to 100 passengers to destinations such as Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca. While the usual Boeing 737-800 aircraft take 189 passengers, the new Airlander focuses on comfort, sustainability and “connecting the unconnected”, instead of maximising as much seating as possible.
Hybrid Air Vehicles want to change the way we think about aviation. While the tried and tested ways and procedures have been in place for a reason (and we don’t see it going completely away anytime soon, by the way), the company thinks it’s time to think about the planet and its people.
While aviation has long lost its luxurious allure of the golden days, long gone will be the days of getting crammed in economy class with a crying baby behind, and a group of drunk people screaming in front. Even though Airlander 10 is massive in dimensions, the interior is more like that of a cruise ship or a super yacht than of a plane.
What is more, due to the aircraft’s size, nervous travellers can be reassured there will be less turbulence. After all, the smaller the plane, the worse it gets.
Plus, the Airlander 10 will not need the usual airport take-off and landing. The plane features six inflatable studs, meaning it can take off and land anywhere, as long as it’s a flat surface (including water).
Recently, the company has also announced an extended partnership with the company Air Nostrum, which also includes Hibernian Airlines in Ireland and Mel Air in Malta. The partnership has increased from 10 to 20 aircraft, further spanning into the Mediterranean region, with routes like Malta-Gozo, Malta-Sicily, and other links with Italy, Tunisia, and Libya.
Miguel Ángel FalcónChairman of Mel Air and Vice President of Air Nostrum said: “There are many factors that motivate us in flying Airlander, including very low fuel consumption, bringing great ecological and economic benefits; the high operational versatility of being able to take-off and land on land and water; the family concept offering from 10 to 50 tonnes of payload starting with 100 passengers on the Airlander 10, all in an environment of great passenger comfort. These are just some critical factors that make the Airlander an excellent aircraft for regional flights.”
Is Airlander 10 safe?
Just like all aircraft, Airlander 10 is not exempt from the safety standards and national and international aviation regulations. Before being built it has to be approved by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority), as well as receive a certificate to prove its safety.
Tom Grundy, the CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles expressed: “Our growing partnership with Air Nostrum Group continues to demonstrate leadership towards the future of flight, and revolutionising how we fly. Airlander is designed to deliver a better future for commercially appealing and truly sustainable aviation services, by enabling new transport services and better growth options for our customers.”
“Airlander 10 will make this possible by 2027, and Airlander 50 will build on it. We’re so pleased to have doubled Air Nostrum’s reservation to 20 aircraft, and to have its backing for our journey and support for our Airlander 50 Development Programme.”