Airships could replace planes for short-haul flights cutting CO2 emissions by 90%
Blimps could reshape short-haul journeys.
Growing awareness of the climate crisis means companies are increasingly looking for alternative modes of transport to ferry passengers around Europe and the US.
A small Bedford-based company is pushing ahead with plans to replace conventional aircraft with commercial airships with focus on pairing up cities a few hundred miles apart.
Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) has named a string of routes it hopes to serve from 2025 using a hybrid electric and jet fuel model. The company claims a fully electric version will be ready by 2030.
The first routes for the 100-passenger Airlander 10 airship include Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca, Liverpool to Belfast, Oslo to Stockholm, and Seattle to Vancouver.
HAV released a set of renderings of the cabin interior, boasting an unpressurized cabin and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Tom Grundy, HAV’s chief executive, who compares the Airlander to a “fast ferry”, said: “This isn’t a luxury product it’s a practical solution to challenges posed by the climate crisis.”
“As you can see, that’s a big, spacious, accessible cabin. It’s low noise, low vibration, very little in the way of any turbulence effect that people worry about on other aeroplanes.”
The airship has a top speed of 130 kilometers per hour (about 81 miles an hour). A trip from Liverpool to Belfast would take five hours 20 minutes inclusive of check-in and boarding.
The end-to-end journey time rivals regular flying due to travelling to the airport and queues both in the terminal and on the runway.
“We’re not reliant on airport infrastructure, so we’re able to take off and land from any reasonably flat surface,” says Grundy. “That includes water.”
HAV has had UK government backing and grants from the European Union.